The Profound Effects of Gratitude in the Workplace

Over the holiday season we seem to focus more on showing gratitude for the things you have, the people in your lives, and for the experiences you’ve had thus far. But as I started to think about it, I wondered if we really follow through with gratitude in the workplace, or is it just a buzzword – a feel good quote for a social media post.

It seems we’ve hit a point in time when there’s a lot of confusion, uncertainty, frustration, and fear. The roots of these feelings are different for each person, but the feelings themselves seem to be shared. Not only does the pressure of the holidays feed into that, but we also tend to turn inward at the end of the year.  Are we where we want to be, did we follow through on professional and personal goals that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. We question our accomplishments.

Many of my clients share that they feel stuck in their career. They’re looking for that fearlessness they felt when they first started out or are wondering what will give them the jolt of energy to make the leap towards what they truly want to do.

Gratitude, Hope, and Holiday Greetings

My advice is to start with being thankful. Gratitude magically leads to hope. The end of the year is an especially good time to share your feelings of gratitude and hope with those around you. Gratitude in the work place can have profound effects. Whether you are the giver or the receiver it can positively affect your office culture.  Be authentic, gratitude has to be felt to be conveyed well.  Your peers, employees or management can tell the difference between lip-service and sincere appreciation.

If you are a manager, and looking to move up the ladder, by showing gratitude you can help your team move up the ladder with you.  You’re the leader, it’s your responsibility to relay thanks down the line, because you can’t possibly do your job alone – think of what your life would be like without your team!

A CEO? We love those stories about how great leaders drive successful business AND an environment that builds trust and good energy, leading to innovation, collaboration and personal attention to customers.  You also read stories about how lack of appreciation and lack of trust drains a business and it’s people, who end up grudgingly complying with goals and policies. Ask yourself, is it time for you to take your leadership to the next level?

A simple thank and actively demonstrating appreciation goes a long way to reducing stress and leads to a more successful team, and it costs nothing to give.  And here’s a bonus – Research finds that having an attitude of gratitude releases dopamine in the brain, which then boosts feelings of well-being, increases optimism, and improves physical health. In turn, these benefits serve to boost productivity, decision making, and problem solving.

And since there is simply no denying this holiday time of year, holiday letters, cards and small gifts are a great way to express your thanks. But take it a step further, a hand written note accompanying that holiday card or a meaningful gift (have you shared sports stories – do they have a favorite team? Do they enjoy wine tasting and you’ve talked about a winery they particularly enjoy?)makes it much more personable and memorable. Saying thanks to the people in our lives, thanks for what happened in the past year, and hope that the opportunities in the coming year will lead to good things for everyone.

For job seekers, or job holders thinking about leaving for new opportunities, there is an additional purpose for sending holiday letters and cards.  A simple note expressing thanks and remembrance or hope for the New Year is a great way to rekindle and stoke relationships with the people in your network. Don’t talk about your job search specifically. For many job seekers, simply reconnecting with their contacts is the best way to hear about new positions and to move to the front of the line when being considered for new openings.

Past managers, former colleagues, recruiters, and business partners, essentially everyone you value and who values you, should be on your holiday mailing list. At the very least, a holiday letter or card from you will create the same warmth that you feel when you receive one. If you’re concerned about mailing costs, send e-cards. E-cards, especially the multimedia ones that include music and animation, can be even better than postcards if the card’s presentation and theme are a good match for recipients.

For me, I thoroughly enjoy receiving a card, letter or e-card wishing me good things and referencing how we’re connected. And I remember the people who took the time to send me something.

Now is not just the only time for warmth, friendship, and well-wishes and gratitude. Think about it on a daily basis. Practice it on a daily basis. Keep your message simple, brief, and upbeat. Be gracious. Simply show your positivity and gratitude.

I appreciate the time you took to read this post, thank you! Happy Holidays and a great New Year everyone!


Julia is a Career Strategist and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach based in the Bay Area. She helps career-focused professionals showcase their unique abilities and talents in order to amplify their presence in their chosen fields and when re-entering the job market. Julia uses her extensive leadership experience in executive management, business development, team building and recruiting to help her clients have the career they always wanted. Learn more about Julia at (@JuliaHolian) and

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