How Two Words Can Improve Your Workplace Health

We're all looking for ways to fend off burnout. It would be awesome to set our own schedules to our own satisfaction all the time, but for most of us, no dice. There are ways we can keep each other boosted, though — and they won't cost your office a thing.

Psychologists at Portland State University have just released a study looking into how gratitude can affect both mental and physical health at the workplace. The basic mechanism behind the study is simple: Thanking people improves everyone's quality of life and their job satisfaction. "The gratitude matches up with [workers'] identity," said co-author David Cadiz in a press release; that gratitude "gives them satisfaction in a job well done and ultimately increases self-care."

Saying thank you has all kinds of powerful applications, in much the same way that mindfulness can improve office dynamics. Making sure employees and colleagues are thriving isn't just more pleasant — it saves businesses money in lost productivity and replacing workers who leave. Sure, some workplace anxiety can actually help employees, but it's far better to rescue burned-out workers and encourage the best possible office culture you can.

Though the Portland State team doesn't address this, it's also worth paying attention to how much you as an employee create gratitude. If you have a tendency to beat yourself up for slip-ups or understandable mistakes, look for ways to stop stressing yourself out. Rather than apologize for lateness, for instance, consider opening with "Thank you for your patience." It's a small shift in mindset, but the overall payoffs can be huge and lasting.