March 1st - March 7th is National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week. It’s a friendly reminder about the benefits of writing a letter of appreciation to your family members, your friends, coworkers, or other people who’ve helped you out along the way.
I’m not talking about the Thank You letter you write to a hiring manager after an interview. That’s understood (or should be, at least). These are letters you write thanking someone for something SPECIFIC. For example, being a good friend, a great teammate at work, or for just being kind and generous with helping not just you, but others along the way.
Writing a letter of appreciation is encouraged this week, but not mandatory. It’s not genuine if it’s forced. But what this week should remind everyone in the workforce is this:
When was the last time you thanked a coworker for their hard work with an email (or letter)?
We’ve already covered the effects of management not praising its staff - 43% of employees cite lack of recognition as the reason they quit. But that question above doesn’t just revolve around management expressing gratitude to their teams; it concerns everyone in the office.
Remember the time when you were swamped with work, had a mountain of tasks, and a coworker offered to help ease some of that?
Remember the time when a deadline was coming up and you had to get something pushed through a coworker before approval?
Or just remember any moment where that coworker went the extra mile to help the team succeed on a project? Maybe they gave great advice that helped you succeed at your tasks, or organized the project calendar to perfection, or just brought positive energy to everyone with their infectiously positive attitude and work ethic?
I’m sure we’ve all verbally expressed our gratitude to one another, but there’s a hidden joy of writing and receiving an appreciative email. It goes beyond just words and forces us to sit and write a message from our heart. We feel more positive emotions from writing a gracious letter that should, in turn, make the reader feel more positive emotions, too.
Positive emotions make us happier at work. According to a Harvard Business Review study, small wins make a happier workforce, and that happier workforce is more productive than a less united, neutral one. And what better way to take part in a small win at work than with a letter? You don’t have to write a letter of appreciation for everything at all times of the day, but it’s nice to appreciate your coworkers with an email or letter every now and then.
Besides, who doesn’t like feeling happy?