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How to Cultivate a Workplace Culture of Gratitude

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Gratitude is a state of mind that has the power to transform how we live. Teaching ourselves to be thankful for what we have is essential for making us happier people. It helps us break the never-ending cycle of wanting to achieve or acquire more so that we can be happy.

Instilling a culture of gratitude into your workplace is an effective way of making your office a happier, less-stressful place. And when your employees are happy and healthy, they will be more productive. It’s really the ultimate win-win solution.

But saying you’re going to create a culture of gratitude and actually doing it are two totally different things. Culture change of any kind is difficult and staying grateful during that change is equally as challenging.

Here are some suggestions for helping you foster gratitude in the office to make your company a happier place:

Live a life of gratitude yourself

As a leader, you have a big responsibility for setting the tone in your company. What you do—both consciously and unconsciously—will set an example for those around you. This is where we get the idea “lead by example.”

Successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, from Oprah Winfrey to Tim Ferris, are known for starting their day with gratitude exercises. This puts them in the right mindset from the start, and this positivity radiates out and affects everyone with whom they come into contact. 

Introducing, gratitude practices into your workplace really begins with you. And it’s the little things that count the most. How do you present yourself? Are you smiling and cheerful, or are you sulky and angry? Make it a point to look people in the eyes, smile, and listen to what they have to say. Showing respect and gratitude for those around you will go a long way towards helping you transform the culture of your office.

Obviously, you want to stay true to yourself—faking happiness is almost worse than true negativity. But find ways to include gratefulness and appreciation into how you conduct yourself. You’ll be able to see the changes ripple throughout your organization.


Give people a reason to be thankful

One of the core principles of leading a life of gratitude is being happy with what you have. We are constantly reaching to try and “acquire” happiness, often forgetting that it’s right there in front of us.

But when you’re at work, this can sometimes be a challenge. It is work, after all. You may love your job, but there will certainly be days when you do not.

As a leader, it’s important to find ways to go above and beyond what you might expect in a typical workplace so that people will appreciate the time they spend there. If your employees dread going into work every day, this negativity will spread out into the rest of the office and have a serious effect on how they interact with each other.

Consider having some specialty food brought in once a week. Maybe you can sign the office up for a premium coffee service, to replace the burnt, stale brew your team has been tolerating.

Other things such as introducing flexible schedules or remote working options are also huge. By making these small changes, you’re showing to your employees your gratitude for them and the work they do. As gratitude spirals out into every corner of the workplace, you can expect the attitude and energy of the office to go through a radical transformation.


Stress the importance of ‘me time’

To be able to effectively introduce feelings of gratitude into your life, one of the most important things you need to do is to spend more time with yourself. We are constantly bombarded with images and messages about how we are “supposed to live.” This kind of stimulus is toxic, as all it does is foster feelings of inadequacy.

It is difficult to be thankful for what you have if aren’t first thankful for who you are. It’s essential you learn how to tune out these messages so that you can find happiness and satisfaction right here and right now.

As a business leader, you need to find a way to make this a reality within your company culture. Doing some training sessions on work-life balance, bringing in motivational speakers, encouraging people to participate in meditation sessions and making it easier for people to use their paid time off are all critical for instilling a feeling of self-worth and satisfaction in your company.

This can also be expanded to the organizational level. Spend some time at meetings (or even create one specifically for this) where you and your team look at what you do and find areas where you excel. Everyone has something they are the best at. Finding these areas of excellence in your employee’s workday and celebrating them is a great way to manifest gratitude in your workplace.


Final Thoughts

Successfully building a company culture with gratitude at its core can be one of the best things you do for your company. When people feel happy and fulfilled with what they have and where they are, they are going to get along better and be more productive. This will help create a work environment that is more pleasant for everyone. Begin implementing these strategies for transforming your workplace culture and you’ll soon find yourself in an office fully charged with positive energy.

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