The Grinch Who Hated Appreciation at Work

This year’s holiday season will be different in many ways. But we thought you might enjoy a look back at what employees love and hate about celebrating the holidays in the workplace. There’s an even a link in the post sharing readers’ stories of their best and worst memories.

Published by
December 14, 2020 9:00 am
1 Comment

How To Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

One of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season is trying to determine if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?”  While some may think giving employees’ gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Businesses spend billions of dollars on recognition rewards every year in hopes of creating a better employee experience and even increasing their bottom line, but... Continue reading...

Published by
December 7, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Sync or Swim: A light read about working together during a crisis

Holidays are a great time to enjoy some light reading. But we are also in the midst of difficult circumstances – working from home, team members spread out, and financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both these categories. Through a fun, story format, you’ll read about various personality types and how they often respond to stress, and you’ll learn practical ways to “pull your team together.” (And it is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired for a story and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom.... Continue reading...

Published by
November 30, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Thinking Ahead: Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving “Downer”

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and the holiday has been in the news due to the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on our lives. I will leave the practical suggestions on how to make a holiday gathering safe to the medical experts (for those of you who choose to get together with family and friends). I want to present some thoughts and suggestions that you should consider before planning your holiday celebration — in hopes of helping you think clearly about the options you are considering and giving you ways to avoid experiencing a depressing Thanksgiving Day. First,... Continue reading...

Published by
November 16, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

The 2020 Election – A Survival Guide for Talking about the Election at Work

Well, here we are, on the verge of the long anticipated (and for some, dreaded) 2020 elections. The tension is thick in the air – within the culture at large, on the airwaves and Internet, within families, and within workplaces.  A number of factors combine to create a significant sense of uneasiness for most of us:   -the unpredictability of the results   -the strong feelings many have related to the issues intertwined with the election   -fears about potential violence and destruction of property after the election   -concerns about how the results of the elections will impact our... Continue reading...

Published by
October 29, 2020 3:10 pm
3 Comments

Building and Rebuilding Trust at Work

The issue of trust – and lack of it – is a common topic in our current culture. Comments can be found in any news medium and frequently in personal conversations. “I don’t trust him.” “They aren’t trustworthy.” “Big organizations can’t be trusted.” The reasons why there seems to be an epidemic of lack of trust is a complicated discussion, in and of itself. Partly, because many people and organizations have shown themselves not to be trustworthy. First, we must understand what trust really is, then we can consider and respond correctly to relevant situations. It is Not as Simple... Continue reading...

Published by
October 26, 2020 9:00 am
10 Comments

Resources for Building Healthy Teams

Dr. Paul White and the Appreciation at Work team have been creating and publishing some new resources to help create healthy workplaces, especially for use in the midst of this difficult time of having team members working remotely (and from home), some working on-site, and others working in a hybrid model (some from home, some at the workplace).  This creates challenges in developing and maintaining healthy work relationships. Dr. White recently completed research with a national sample of remote employees and the results were summarized in an interview with Psychology Today‘s Hope and Resilience writer, Dr. Jamie D. Aten. The... Continue reading...

Published by
October 12, 2020 9:30 am
Leave your thoughts

The Easiest Way to Encourage and Support Others: Use Your Words

The easiest way to positively impact your colleagues is to tell them what you value and appreciate about them. While supervisors and managers often try to use words to encourage their team members, their efforts often don’t “hit the mark.” Fortunately, using our words to communicate encouragement is easily done – whether you (or your coworkers) are working from home or onsite. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most effective, words... Continue reading...

Published by
October 5, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Working From Home: How the Concerns of Employees and Managers Differ

Recently, we conducted a national survey with over 500 employees and organizational leaders. We wanted to find out the issues that remote and working from home (WFH) employees were currently most concerned about. Last week, we reported the results for the group as a whole (all of the respondents together). Two concerns were rated more highly than the rest (a total of 22 issues were offered): *The emotional and mental health of team members (75% of respondents rated this as an extreme or moderate concern) *Work / life boundaries (~70% of participants identified this as being at a moderate or... Continue reading...

Published by
September 28, 2020 1:58 pm
7 Comments

What is Most Concerning to Working From Home Employees: National Survey Results

Working from home (WFH) due to the COVID-19 pandemic has now moved past six months, and the longer term nature of this alternative approach to work is starting to show areas of “wear and tear” in many of our lives. While employees, employers and family members have settled into a number of adjustments in their daily lives, numerous stressors continue as a result of the interference of the pandemic: not being able to be with a family member who is in the hospital, significant adjustments to (or cancellation of) wedding ceremonies, the inability to visit extended family members in other... Continue reading...

Published by
September 21, 2020 9:00 am

Coping with Schooling at Home While Working From Home

  “How am I supposed to get my work done while I’m also expected to oversee my children’s schoolwork?” This critical question is one of the most common concerns raised by parents who are working from home. And with the schoolyear just beginning, this challenge, facing millions is both a very real and practical one. First, some context regarding my credibility. Prior to and during my work focused on work-based relationships and workplace culture, my professional focus included evaluating students with learning challenges, and consulting with parents and schools on the best ways to help their students learn. Additionally, we... Continue reading...

Published by
September 14, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Making ‘Negative’ Communication Healthier: The Differences Between Complaints and Concerns

A lot of comments have been voiced about the increasing intensity of negative and conflictual conversations in our culture – on television, on radio talk shows, in social media, even in our personal interactions. In reflecting on the numerous challenges facing us in the workplace and our community activities (decisions about school attendance, sports events, social gatherings), it became clear that there are a lot of areas in our lives that we can complain about. Almost simultaneously, I thought: “We are in a space where almost all of us can become overwhelmed with the amount of complaining we hear and... Continue reading...

Published by
September 8, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

How to Help Your Employees Find Purpose at Work

“Does what I do matter?” Every person on the planet wants to know the answer to this question. This is especially true for employees that are feeling unstable and uncertain about their future. Employees that have a clear sense of their purpose are more engaged, more loyal, and more productive too. Amidst the pandemic, your team is looking for hope. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly one-third of all Americans currently suffer from depression and anxiety. As quarantine orders took effect, self-help book sales shot up by 39%. Man has been searching for meaning from the beginning of time.... Continue reading...

Published by
August 31, 2020 8:55 am
Leave your thoughts

Working From Home is Here to Stay: Simple Tips to Make Life Better

I often state that psychologists sometimes “discover the obvious.” Since I am a member of that prestigious group, let me make the self-evident conclusion clear: working from home (WFH) is here to stay. Working with (and leading) remote employees is a fact of life we need to accept and learn to manage. Two Key Perspectives To effectively deal with, and successfully adjust to working from home, we need to acknowledge that there are (at least) two quite different perspectives on the issue: the employees’ experience and the viewpoint from the organization’s leaders. Many articles and podcasts focus on one or... Continue reading...

Published by
August 24, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and Positive Energy at Work

Vibrant: full of energy and enthusiasm. Spirited, lively, energetic, full of life. The vibrant workplace connotes energy, positivity, and growth — characteristics we desire for the environment where we spend the majority of our waking hours. A vibrant workplace draws people to it — quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context and became a part of the life-exuding process. Employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy in a dynamic work setting. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. Employees... Continue reading...

Published by
August 17, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Preparing for a Storm – Lessons from Tornado Alley

As a country, it appears likely we are headed for stormy times. Why do I think so?  First, as a psychologist and social scientist, I’m trained to observe patterns in social behaviors that assist us in predicting future likely behavior patterns. Secondly, because I’m from the Midwest in the heart of “tornado alley” and we are experts in being able to see the signs leading to severe weather. And the two sets of patterns and conditions are quite similar. Stormy Weather I’m not going to go through all of the different circumstances that lead up to severe weather in the... Continue reading...

Published by
August 10, 2020 8:55 am
1 Comment

Building a Strong Team Culture: Valuing & Appreciating Differences in the Workplace

To build a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who have a variety of skills and personality types, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. Many books on leadership provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who are... Continue reading...

Published by
August 3, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests) *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors, have... Continue reading...

Published by
July 27, 2020 9:00 am
4 Comments

Email Etiquette Refresher

A significant portion of our communication happens through email. This is especially true with current work from home set-ups resulting from COVID-19 where communicating properly and effectively through email is essential. Chances are, you’ve misinterpreted an email or had one of your emails misinterpreted at some point in your life. Email can quickly trigger unnecessary conflict. Here are a few tips and reminders to help you use email as an effective communication tool. Don’t read energy or emotion into emails. All you have in email are words, which only account for 7% of communication. The other 93% of communication happens... Continue reading...

Published by
July 20, 2020 9:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Are You Running Out of Gas? How to Avoid Burning Out

Have you ever run out of gas on a trip?  From personal experience, I can tell you it’s not a fun experience. (Fortunately, the last time this happened to me was several years ago!) Similarly, experiencing burnout in life or at work is painful, as well. The two experiences are quite similar and ones you want to avoid. When your car runs out of gas, the event itself isn’t that bad – the vehicle just stops and you can’t go anywhere, but you can’t get restarted. The consequences that follow are what creates the disruptions in your life.  First, you... Continue reading...

Published by
July 13, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Reflections: What Is the United States of America?

As a country, we are in the midst of a number of events which have upset our (until recently) normal, daily life activities. This unsettledness has created the opportunity to rethink “who we are” as a country – and who we want to become. I’m not the most reflective person, but I have been thinking about the United States – our history (good and bad), our current status, what makes us the country we have become, and how we are similar to and different from other countries (either current, or those in the past.) What is a Country? Countries are... Continue reading...

Published by
June 29, 2020 8:52 am
8 Comments

Want an easy summer read that will help you understand the challenges of working together during a crisis?

It’s summer time – which means “light reading” time. But we are also in the midst of difficult circumstances – working from home, team members spread out, and business / financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both categories. Through a fun, story format, you’ll be exposed to various personality types and how they often respond to stress, and you’ll learn practical ways to “pull your team together.” Humans are ‘hard-wired for a story’ and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom. In them we see our own predicaments and reactions, both wise and foolish. Sync or Swim is... Continue reading...

Published by
June 24, 2020 11:31 am
Leave your thoughts

“The New Normal” – What are you expecting?

“We aren’t going to return to ‘normal’ – there will be a ‘new normal’” is a phrase commonly heard these days – from news media, economic gurus and business consultants. But what do they mean? What do you (or I) mean when we use the phrase “new normal?” I don’t think most of us really know. It is a phrase we are used to using, but rarely define. What is ‘Normal’ Anyway? We need to start by asking ourselves, “What does ‘normal’ mean?” What do we expect when we “just want things to get back to normal?” It’s a word... Continue reading...

Published by
June 15, 2020 8:57 am
Leave your thoughts

Tips for Surviving Working from Home – From Remote Employees Themselves

Working from home (WFH) has moved from a short-term hassle to a longer, “this is life now” stage. The novelty is gone. The changes for the initial transition are in place. We now have to figure out how to make this scenario work for a while. Who best to learn from than other remote, WFH employees? We recently followed a group of WFH workers, having them fill out a questionnaire once a week for four weeks. We asked a lot of questions, and the results are just being published in Training this week. We inquired about their level of anxiety,... Continue reading...

Published by
June 8, 2020 8:55 am
3 Comments

Do You Need Virtual Training Resources to Keep Your Remote Employees Connected?

A core value to us at Appreciation at Work is to provide practical, low-cost resources to address the needs of our clients.  We are proud to announce the official launch of our new Virtual Appreciation at Work™ Training Kit — a brand-new feature to our Appreciation at Work resources. This year has seen dramatic changes in how and where people work. The past few months we have worked hard to adapt our Appreciation at Work training assets to make sure we are offering workable solutions to new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now you can be among the first... Continue reading...

Published by
June 1, 2020 9:20 am
Leave your thoughts

Memorial Day in the Time of COVID-19

A typical Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies This year has already brought substantial changes in our daily lives and this weekend will be no exception. Sporting events and parades are cancelled. BBQs and travel, if they happen at all, will look markedly different. I usually take time over the Memorial Day weekend to gather with my family and... Continue reading...

Published by
May 22, 2020 8:27 am
4 Comments

Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Previously, changes had to be made in response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and they can take their toll on employees — which leads to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if... Continue reading...

Published by
May 18, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

Feeling Overwhelmed? Stressed? Emotionally worn down? Here’s why (and some tactics to help)

Are you (like me) feeling overwhelmed? You are “tired of this.” You don’t know how to make decisions because you don’t know what information to believe? Are you sick of all the “newness” in your life, and the constant adjustments you have to make as a result? Welcome to life in the USA COVID-19 2020. Stressed. Emotionally drained. Feeling unsettled. All of these reactions are normal, given what is going on around us. But they still aren’t fun. What’s Going On Let’s take a quick look at the factors that have turned our lives upside down: 1.Unpredictability and instability. In... Continue reading...

Published by
May 11, 2020 9:00 am
13 Comments

Encouragement, Support, and Staying Connected During Quarantine

Last week we conducted a small survey to see how our readers were feeling supported and encouraged, how they were supporting and encouraging others and what has helped them stay positive. We were overwhelmed by the positive answers and examples you gave us. First, we asked you: How much have you felt supported and encouraged by someone with whom you work since the COVID-19 crisis has developed? The average of all responses was a “4” (1 = Not at all; 5 = Extremely)! We were glad to learn that many of you are feeling supported and encouraged during this difficult... Continue reading...

Published by
May 4, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments

How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During Difficult Times?

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. We are told “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and... Continue reading...

Published by
April 27, 2020 9:00 am
2 Comments