Thanksgiving is supposed to be fun and for many of us a sacred time to count our blessings. If we allow the pandemic to steal our joy, it can compromise our mental health and turn the season into a sad and scary time. This has been a stressful year, most of us quarantined and working from home during the pandemic. We’ve faced ups-and-downs in the economy and the unease of political and racial unrest. Pandemic stress has led to a rise in anxiety and depression, and many working from home feel isolated, unappreciated and unrecognized for their contributions at work.
A SWNS research study found that remote workers say they aren’t feeling the appreciation from higher-ups as they toil from home, especially with the struggles of 2020. The study of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motivosity revealed over half of employed respondents working from home said they haven’t felt much gratitude from their job since they stopped commuting. It seems the lack of appreciation has added to an already strained workforce as 70% are working harder than ever before. Two-thirds (68%) of those working from home say they feel unmotivated to work since everything they do seems to go unnoticed.
No matter how dire the circumstances, it’s still possible to find blessings in the disappointments and celebrate a stress-free, grateful Thanksgiving. So what are American employees grateful for this holiday? On October 30, 2020, Monster conducted a poll of 1,700 members of the nation’s workforce to shed light on what workers are most thankful for this season. Not surprisingly, their findings showed most of all people (70%) are thankful for their health. And the majority (94%) said they were motivated by gratitude from managers. Other key grateful findings were:
- More than one third of workers are thankful for having a job (35%) right now and a quarter of workers (25%) thankful to work remotely.
- The overwhelming majority of workers believe both that expressing gratitude at work helps ease stress and anxiety (97%) and receiving gratitude motivates their daily work (94%).
- The majority of workers (91%) agree that they express gratitude at their workplace, though sadly under half (46%) of workers do not feel that they are recognized for their contributions at work.
An Attitude Of Gratitude
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says there are two ways to reach contentment. One is to acquire everything we want and desire: an expensive house, sporty car, fashionable wardrobe, gourmet foods, perfect mate, exotic trips a perfectly toned body. The list is endless. The problem with this approach is that this type of wanting is a bottomless pit and never leads to contentment. Sooner or later there will be something we want but can’t have or make happen. The second and more reliable approach to contentment is to want and feel grateful for what we already possess. When we have a strong sense of contentment, it doesn’t matter whether we obtain the object of our desire or not. We are content either way. When we focus on abundance, we have more of it.
Studies show that when we express gratitude, it raises our happiness by 25%. It’s simple science; whatever we focus on expands. When we express gratitude to the people we work with (for who they are and what they do), not only does it lift us up, it lifts them up, too. Consider making a gratitude list of the many things you’re grateful for—the coworkers, your career and other people and things, even pets—that make your life rich and full. After you’ve made your list, contemplate your appreciation for each item, especially anything you’ve taken for granted that would leave your life empty if you didn’t have it. Then share your gratitude through a card, email, Zoom or text to colleagues in the workplace.
Studies show that most employees put gratitude from their managers at the top of their list. For every worker who is thankful for having a job, others are not. In the SWNS study, 75% of remote workers said their mental health would likely improve if they had more appreciation and recognition. And seven in 10 admitted that appreciation meant the most from a manager or executive. Many managers do express gratitude in the workplace. But if you’re one of the many employees who feels shortchanged, one consideration is to let him or her know how important recognition and gratitude are for your engagement, motivation and job performance.
If that approach doesn’t seem feasible, a second option is initiating gratitude first, instead of waiting for it to come to you. That requires a shift from a grievance to heartfelt gratitude—something you appreciate about your manager. We can gain enormous happiness when we’re faced with a challenging situation and are able to take the higher road, anyway. Even if you have to do a deep dive, everybody has something of redeeming value. Practicing an attitude of gratitude, regardless of what you’re getting in return, can keep you from losing heart and feeling defeated. It can restore motivation, reboot your productivity and propel you forward in your career.
If you’re a manager, Scott Johnson Founder and CEO of Motivosity offers sage advice on what you can do this Thanksgiving season: “If you’re trying to improve your company culture, focus on gratitude and appreciation. Enable teams and individuals to be appreciative of each other. That’s the kind of culture that improves eNPS scores, keeps customers happy and wins ‘Best Places to Work’ awards!”