Showing Appreciation During These Difficult Times

You might be sensing that your staff is stressing out due to the pressures of working at home. In addition to doing their work, they may be simultaneously providing educational services care for their children plus deal with other distractions. The on top of all of that, some might worry about possible furloughs or layoffs. Stress? What stress?

This might be the time for managers to show appreciation for their employees. 

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Not only will you make people feel better, but you may find they do better work. Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not. 

But it’s more than a “feel-good” experience. Your brain recognizes the gesture. A Psychology Today article tells that the hypothalamus, which controls essential bodily functions such as eating and sleeping, and dopamine, senses feelings of gratitude. Alex Korb Ph.D. writes, “Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle.” 

So, where do you start?

The managing editor of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper had pizzas delivered to the homes of his staff. A local TV station surprised its staff with lunch. 

Your organization probably doesn’t have that kind of budget, but here are five less expensive ways of showing your gratitude. 

(1) Food is always a favorite. Consider delivering a candy bag to the homes of each of your staff members. Leave it at their door with a note and ring their doorbell. Don’t ignore social distancing rules. 

(2) Consider providing gift cards to favored stores or online retailers, i.e., Starbucks or

(3) Feeling lucky?  Send your team unscratched lottery tickets. Even those people who don’t buy lottery tickets will still dream about the chance of winning big.

(4) Plan a party. Tell your team that as soon as everyone can get together, you plan to throw a welcome back party where everyone can enjoy each other’s company again. 

(5) If you have no budget for anything, consider handwriting a personalized thank you note, which shows your appreciation for a specific task or action taken. 

You might find some other creative ideas on Pinterest. 

No matter what you decide to do, your gesture will likely mean more to the recipient than the cash value of the gift. 

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