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November 24, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Have you thanked a colleague today? 10 simple ways to show gratitude at work

shutterstock_337004078Football, the parade, playtime with the kids, that glorious turkey dinner and perhaps a nap — what’s not to like about Thanksgiving? Gratitude, of course, is the foundation of the holiday, and it’s important to remember everything you’re thankful for this year. Yes, that means your co-workers, too.

Before you laugh out loud and spill your eggnog everywhere, take a moment to think about it: You spend a third of your day with these people. For many of us that equates to more time than we spend with our spouses or kids. Good co-workers humanize the daily grind, make stressful weeks easier and can turn into true friends.

Not everyone you work with is going to be your best bud, but your co-workers are still a big part of your life. With that in mind, I think it’s time to bring a little thanks into the workplace. And no, the “thanks” used sign off at the end of an email doesn’t count.

Here are 10 simple ways to embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and show gratitude at work:

1. Speak up at a meeting
Did someone help you meet a tough deadline? Did a co-worker step in when you had to leave early? Did a colleague assist in a perfect client presentation? If someone helped you when you needed it most, bring it up at a team meeting. This public acknowledgement shows your true appreciation.

2. Email the supervisor
Don’t have a good opportunity to speak up at a group meeting? No problem. Take two minutes and email your supervisor to state how much you appreciate your co-worker’s assistance. Kudos to the people in charge count for a lot.

3. Scratch someone’s back
Not literally of course! Rather, when a co-worker helps you out, return the favor in a timely fashion. Not sure what she needs help with? Pick up a project that you knows she dreads, even if that means spending an hour filing paperwork.

4. Write a thank you card
In the age of emails and instant messages, a handwritten thank you card shows sincere gratitude. The words don’t need to be lengthy or particularly elegant, but the message should be personalized to acknowledge the situation and convey your sincere appreciation.

5. Grab an extra cup of joe
When you’re at the coffee shop getting your favorite caffeinated beverage, grab an extra latte for your co-worker. A steaming hot cup is the perfect morning pick-me-up, plus it comes with a side of gratitude that will help brighten the whole day.

6. Take him to lunch
Treating someone to lunch is the perfect way to say gracias. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but make sure you go somewhere your co-worker genuinely enjoys (i.e. no burger joint for a vegetarian). Take a break, eat good grub and enjoy the company.

7. Write a LinkedIn recommendation
Go to your co-worker’s LinkedIn profile, hover your mouse over the arrow next to the blue “send a message” button, and you’ll notice the recommendation option. Then, write why you feel this person should be recommended and she will be notified so she can put it on her profile — a lasting gesture to show your thanks.

8. Recommend them for workplace opportunities
When a colleague gains your trust and consistently steps up to the plate to help you out, thank him by recommending him for advanced opportunities at work. That means when your supervisor is looking to form a team to work on an exciting new project, you throw his name into the hat for consideration and note why.

9. Be a sounding board
Your undivided attention is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to show your gratitude to co-workers. If they need to vent about a tough day or brainstorm about a new client, be there to listen.

10. Give a straightforward compliment
A good old-fashioned face-to-face compliment goes a long ways these days. Be specific about why you appreciate working alongside your colleague. Do you love how detail-oriented she is? Do you appreciate his creativity? Did you meet your deadline because of her help? Acknowledge it and give a hardy “Thank you!”