5 Ways to Show Gratitude in Your Workplace

11/01/2019 Personal Growth gratitude Workplace Wellbeing For the Office Stress Health and Wellness Psychology Happiness

No matter where you work, you can show your gratitude through gifts, acts of service, words of praise, thank-you notes, and shared experiences. Give these five tips a try the next time you would like to show your appreciation for your coworkers.

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Have you ever received a thank-you gift from a colleague or client? Been recognized or awarded for your hard work? Received a shout out for your contributions or input? Then you know how meaningful it can be to be appreciated and seen. Even a heartfelt “thanks!” can leave you glowing. No matter where you work, a little thanks and acknowledgment goes a long way and can create a positive office culture.

What Is Gratitude?

“Thank you for your help!”

“I appreciate what you do and who you are.”

“The work you put in on that project really made a difference for the team. Thank you so much for all you do!”

Words of gratitude and affirmation in the workplace can be powerful. Hearing that you have done a good job or that your ideas have contributed to your workplace culture or mission can mean a lot. We all certainly can benefit from being recognized for our efforts.

Gratitude is an important element of your well-being. A sense of gratitude is a profound and positive experience that contributes to a happier life and increases morale. It’s that intentional feeling and expression of thankfulness, reminding you to notice and appreciate the things, experiences, and people in your life. Seeing and seeking the silver lining whenever possible and practicing gratitude can help you to:

Considering the many benefits of gratitude, it is wise to practice it regularly in every aspect of your life, including at work. 

And most of us work. You need to have a roof over your head, put food on the table, and pay the bills. So it makes sense to spend time expressing gratitude to celebrate the people and places that make that possible. Whether you somewhat enjoy your work, love your work, or are resigned to show up because you need the cash, showing gratitude at your workplace can uplift you and those around you. No matter where you work, showing gratitude in your workplace helps boost morale for others and for you.

There are so many opportunities to show gratitude in the workplace. Here are five ideas you can use the next time you would like to show your appreciation for your coworkers, clients, supervisors, students, and those who help maintain your workspaces, such as building managers and janitors.

1. Give Gifts

Gift-giving is a wonderful and thoughtful way to express gratitude in the workplace. Offer someone a gift that shows your appreciation. Your gift of thanks can be big or small, but let it come from your heart. Here are some ideas:

  • Attach a note of gratitude to a beautiful plant for someone’s office.
  • Offer to bring lunch tomorrow as a thank-you gift.
  • Give a book about something your recipient recently expressed interest in.
  • Bring your coworker a cup of tea when you get up to get one for yourself.
  • Bring some homemade cookies or a healthy treat for everyone to share.

Of course, make sure that your gift is appropriate, legal, suitable for the workplace environment, and something that your recipient would be pleased to receive. If you are at all uncertain about the appropriateness of your gift, choose something else to offer. Allow your gift of thanks to show that you are paying attention and that you appreciate the efforts of those you work with.  

2. Offer Acts of Service

Consider expressing thanks by doing something to help out the people you work with. There are many ways to say thanks with an act of service. Here are some examples:

  • Offer to do a little extra work so that your coworker can leave early to pick up their child from school on their birthday.
  • Give a colleague with car or transportation issues a ride to or from work.
  • Take a coworker out to lunch.
  • Write a glowing recommendation for someone who deserves it.
  • Be a good listener to an office mate who needs to vent or wants your feedback on a new idea.

Your act of service can be something that involves really going out of your way or something that takes just a few minutes. Whatever you choose, express your feelings of gratitude to your coworkers for the times that they have gone out of their way to help you. Let them know that you deeply appreciate their efforts.

3. Offer Words of Praise

Words of affirmation, praise, and work-related compliments are excellent ways to express thanks in your place of work. Saying “Thank you” and “I’m so grateful for you for your hard work on this” can mean so much to the recipient. Offer verbal thanks after a great idea is shared or you witness someone going above and beyond. This could sound like:

  • “What a great idea! Thank you for your contribution.”
  • “That idea you shared in the meeting this morning really got me thinking. I did some research, and I’m going to add your idea to the list. Thank you so much for your creativity.”
  • “Thank you for always showing up with a smile! You really brightened my afternoon.”
  • “I appreciate the time and energy you are spending on this project. Your dedication is making a big difference.”
  • “Thanks, as always, for your total commitment to our team/students/mission/clients. You rock!”

As with all expressions of gratitude at work, be certain not to overstep any boundaries and keep your compliments professional and related to work—though it may be just fine to compliment your coworker/friend on their hairstyle or new outfit over lunch. When expressing work-related thanks, be very specific about what exactly you are thanking someone for. If you are shy or simply cannot come up with something to say on the spot, try writing out your words of appreciation and gratitude in a note.

4. Write Thank-You Cards and Letters

Consider expressing gratitude in the workplace by writing thank-you cards. Be as specific as you can and let your colleagues know exactly what it is that you are grateful for.

  • Did their idea in the collaborative meeting spark some new ideas for you? Let them know the positive impact of their sharing their creativity.
  • Did you finally receive that overdue raise? Thank your supervisors for their recognition of your hard work.
  • Did your office mate give you a gift or remember your anniversary or decorate your desk for your birthday? Let them know how much that meant to you.

Being specific rather than vague or general in your expression of thanks makes a difference because it shows that you are being attentive and are truly grateful. Also, a handwritten note lasts much longer than a quickly muttered “Thanks.” Your card or letter is a gift in itself.

5. Share Experiences

Another way to show appreciation and gratitude in your workplace is through shared experiences. Whether it is working hard to overcome a challenge or spending time doing leisure activities together, sharing experiences with coworkers contributes to a positive working environment.

  • Has your team been working hard? Bring in a yoga teacher to treat everyone to a lunchtime yoga class.
  • Has your boss been putting in extra hours ahead of a deadline? Suggest an after-work stroll to get the blood flowing and talk about something unrelated to the job.
  • Have you been traveling for work? Let your colleagues know how much you appreciate them taking care of things while you have been away by taking them out for a celebratory meal.
  • Need an organized team building activity? Those can be powerful ways to connect and encourage everyone in the office. Some ideas include:
    • Attending a baseball game together
    • Going to the zoo or fair together
    • Participating in a corporate caring give-back charity event

Show your gratitude at work by planning and activity that allows you and your teammates to enjoy each other’s company and have fun.

Whether you are grateful for something big, such as your coworker picking up your slack so you could leave early last week, or something small, such as a teammate bringing you some tea or offering you a few words of wisdom, expressing your gratitude can mean a lot to the person who has helped you. It can also cultivate kindness and create positive relationships in the workplace. Tap into the power of gratitude and watch it expand the experience of joy, connection, love, and enthusiasm at work and in every aspect of your life.


Guided by the ancient wisdom traditions of meditation and yoga, each Chopra Center retreat is designed to educate, inspire, and transform. Each retreat location was chosen for its physical beauty and healing power, and each theme created as a separate path toward greater consciousness. Where will your journey take you? Learn more.

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About the Author
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Lena Schmidt

Certified Yoga Instructor
Whether it’s exploring the local trails, playing pretzel on the yoga mat, or diving into a book on inner peace, Lena loves an adventure. You can find her teaching yoga in San Diego, leading retreats near and far, and empowering others to be the change they wish to see in the world. Learn more about Lena at www.yoginilena.com . The spiritual aspects of yoga have aided Lena in the never-ending search for peace, calm, and positivity within, and she’s passionate about sharing these tools with others. She is intentional about taking yoga off the mat and loves finding the bridges between the heart and mind, the individual and community, and...Read more