Positivity & Employee Appreciation

As we move toward what may be the beginning of the end of COVID-19, the months feel longer again and we’re seeing the impact of the challenges.  The end is in sight, but we’re not quite there yet so combat burnout with positivity and appreciation in the workplace.

Some tips to stay positive:
 – Mentally reframe the situation and focus on what you can control and. Ask yourself, ‘What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?  What is one opportunity?  Reframing and taking action can alleviate anxiety and increase confidence.
 – Cultivate a positive environment with people and sources of information. Ask yourself, ‘Who are the 3 most negative people I spend time with?  What are the 3 most negative sources of information I spend time on?’ And strategize on how to spend less time there and more time with positive people and sources that bring out the best in you.
 – Unplug and spend some time away from your phone, computer or TV. Take a break and go walk outside, see friends, or grab a coffee.  Too much screen time can have a negative impact on our memories, mood and mental health.  Be kind to yourself, listen to your thoughts and your body and step away when you need to.
 – Practice mindfulness by purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgement. Learning to live more in the present is especially helpful when the future is uncertain.  Formal mindfulness-based stress reduction programs have been shown to help reduce physical and psychological symptoms in people facing a variety of challenges, including cancer and chronic pain.
 – Share some kindness with others through acts of charity. This has been proven to boost your mood and lead to more happiness overall.  You can also spread positivity by helping out a friend, listening to people who need it and sharing a smile.
 – Focus on taking criticism in a healthy way. Don’t reply right away, especially if you’re upset.  Try to keep an open mind and really listen to the criticism – remember it isn’t always about you and may be more about the person sharing it.  Then reply or let it go.
 – Practice gratitude and acknowledge the good things in your life. Our brains are wired to take note when things go wrong so keep a gratitude journal and record the things you’re thankful for to help become more aware when things go right.  TIP:  Start your day this way to set a positive tone.

Take gratitude one step further, and share your appreciation with your employees based on their language of appreciation from Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

“Every person is unique in the way that they feel love or express love in personal relationships, but it’s the same in how they feel appreciated and valued in work relationships,” explains White.

1. Words of Affirmation: use words to affirm, encourage, and appreciate people.
Provide verbal praise in front of others, like at a team meeting or in front of customers.  Regularly send unexpected messages, emails, or texts of encouragement.  And avoid offering non-constructive criticism or failing to recognize your employees’ efforts.

2. Quality Time: give others your undivided attention.
Schedule time for one-on-one, uninterrupted, and focused conversations – remember to maintain eye contact.  Arrange activities outside of the office to build trust and deepen team relationships. And remember to put away your phone!

3. Acts of Service: actions speak louder than words.
Help alleviate someone’s workload by offering your assistance, and perform in the way the recipient wants it done. Let them know you’re with them and be clear about how much time you have to assist.  Avoid not following through on tasks you promised to take care of.

4. Tangible Gifts: this language is less about the “gift” & more about the thought behind it.
Get to know what is important or valued by the recipient and ensure the gift reflects this knowledge. A caffeine junkie would love a gift card to her favorite coffee house, and a team that’s been working around the clock might appreciate spa gift cards to unwind.  Don’t forget special milestones and avoid giving a generic gift with no link to its recipient.

5. Appropriate Physical Touch: use appropriate physical touch to demonstrate appreciation.
Offer a high five, handshake, fist bump, or a pat on the back when acknowledging someone for a great job. These spontaneous displays of celebration help build positive work-based relationships. Personal boundaries are important to keep in mind, so avoid unwanted touch. (Post-COVID)

In the workplace, effectively communicating authentic appreciation and encouragement isn’t one-size-fits-all, nor is it restricted to a single language of appreciation. The best way to express your gratitude in the workplace starts with asking others their preferences so you can better relate to one another and deepen your relationships. And work to fuel your own positivity every day and share it with your team.

Stay Positive Checklist