As 2016 draws to a close, it will soon become a time of delicate reflection on the year that has passed. For some of us, the Christmas holidays leaves us with a distinct feeling of bittersweetness, which is often combined with inner determination that “next year will be better.” What could have gone better this year, and how? What should I do to become happier and more satisfied next year? These feelings do not just apply to our personal lives, but they also sometimes cross over to our professional lives, too.
Many researchers are currently exploring the role of gratitude in the workplace; that is, when one expresses appreciation for what one has, or what went right, at work. First off, it is worth noting that, on average, people who regularly express gratitude are better off psychologically. For instance, grateful people are happier, they experience more positive moods, and they report greater perceived support from other people compared to people who do not regularly express gratitude. The chances are, however, that gratitude is not part of your workplace culture, and expressing appreciation in the workplace is not something that occurs very frequently. A lack of gratitude increases the risk of low performance and dissatisfaction in the workplace.
In a recent study conducted in Canada, researchers tested what happens when workers are encouraged to reflect on the things they are grateful for at work. In a study of employees (aged 18-82), half were encouraged to focus on and describe three things that they were grateful for at work, while the other half described three things that they were grateful for in life. After, the employees completed surveys about how satisfied they currently felt with their job, and how satisfied they expected to be with their job in 6 months’ time. Results indicated that employees who described three things that they were thankful for at work reported significantly higher levels of work satisfaction and greater anticipatory work satisfaction in 6 months’ time (compared to those who reflected on things that they were grateful for in life; see graphs below).
Whilst we are not always able to control what happens in the workplace, good or bad, these results demonstrate that we can control how we choose to perceive what happens in the workplace, and which aspects we choose to focus on. We can either focus on the negative aspects of the workplace, or we can actively choose to find things that we like about our workplace and express gratitude toward them frequently, which, in turn, maximises fulfilment and bolsters optimism for the future.
As 2016 draws to a close, it will soon become a time of delicate reflection on the year that has passed. For some of us, the Christmas holidays leaves us with a distinct feeling of bittersweetness, combined with inner determination that “next year will be better.” What could have gone differently this year, and how? What should I do to become happier and more satisfied next year? Well, why not let this Christmas be a time for gratitude. By reflecting on just three things that you are grateful for at work (e.g., things that have gone well this year), you will heighten the likelihood of starting 2017 full of optimistic thoughts and boosted satisfaction. Make gratitude a habit, and the rewards shall be reaped.
Please let us take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you – our users. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an exceedingly Happy and EDGEtastic New Year.
Most importantly – thank you.
 Watkins, P. C., Woodward, K., Stone, T., & Kolts, R. L. (2003). Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective wellbeing. Behaviour and Personality, 31, (5), 431-452.
 Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P.A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 854-871.
 Simon-Thomas, E. R., & Smith, J. A. (2013). How Grateful are Americans. Retreived from http://www.greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_grateful_are_americans
 Judge, T. A., Thoresen, C. J., Bono, J. E., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127, (3), 376-407.
 Buote, V. (2014). Being thankful at work: The impact of gratitude in the workplace.