By James McLoughlin | October 26, 2021
At TAP (Thank and Praise) we are big believers in the power of gratitude to boost the mental health and wellbeing of care workers. It’s a simple act to say thank you to someone who deserves it and yet it can have a profound impact.
Research has shown that gratitude is strongly associated with happiness, positive emotions, improved health, and stronger relationships. In one study, a group wrote a letter of gratitude to someone to thank them for their kindness. This group, compared to other interventions, showed huge increases in happiness scores with benefits lasting a month (Seligman et al, 2005).
You also won’t be surprised to hear that another study found that managers who said ‘thank you’ to their employees made them feel more motivated to work harder! (Grant & Gino, 2010).
We know that feeling when someone in the workplace recognises your efforts and says, ‘thank you’ or ‘you did a great job’, but in busy working environments the time and good intentions to say thanks can easily slip. Yet the power of thanks and gratitude is intrinsic to our sense of personal wellbeing. Gratitude itself is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. It is also linked to lowering levels of depression and anxiety, supporting our perceptions of positive relationships (Wood et al, 2010) and fostering a sense of social connectedness.
So, what’s the best way to say thank you to a care worker?
Well, simply the act of writing a positive message can make a difference to the sender. Research shows that writing out positive words and feeling positive emotions can improve mental wellbeing (Brown and Wong 2017), shifting our attention away from negative emotions and thoughts, to positive ones. Studies also show there can be a longer-term benefit to someone’s mental wellbeing after writing positive messages for more than four weeks, which shows the importance of saying thanks and showing gratitude as part of our everyday routine and habits.
Here are five creative ways to say thank you!
- Use TAP’s free-to-use social thanking platform to digitally say thank you a care worker at any time of day or at any point during the week – simply visit: thankandpraise.com/social-care-thanking-wall and post your message or download our free TAP App via your app store – simply search for ‘TAP Thank and Praise’. Care organisations can also register for free with TAP to create their own Branded Thanking Wall which means you can collate and share messages for your organisation all in one place like Age Concern Hampshire and National Association of Care Workers
- Why not practice random acts of kindness? This can be anything from leaving a favourite chocolate or a coffee shop beverage on someone’s desk when you think they deserve a thank you, through to a whole goodie bag filled with treats such as sweets, health bars, moisturiser etc. all designed to put a smile on a colleague’s face. For more ideas visit: randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas
- Go one step further and offer your colleagues a day off work for going above and beyond – they would surely appreciate the gesture and if a spa day or shopping voucher was included, it would go down even better. Best still, after a well-earned rest they will come back re-energised and delighted to work for such a great manager. You can find out more about discount vouchers for carers here: discountsforcarers.com
- Another way to say thank you is to give out staff awards on a weekly or monthly basis; while any recipient of an award should deserve it, there’s no reason why different people in different departments couldn’t be highlighted on a rolling basis rather than the same people being forever recognised because of the particular role they may be in. TAP has launched its own monthly TAP Awards and makes sure that the winners are from a wide range of care organisations across the country; you can read more about what we do here: thankandpraise.com/tap-awards
- My final tip is to do something highly creative so that it’s incredibly memorable for those doing the thanking and those being thanked! Each organisation will have their own ideas of what they can do. However, to give you an idea of what’s creatively possible, here’s what TAP did to say thank you to care workers across the country. One of our disabled colleagues who was extremely grateful for the care he received in hospital decided to ride his mobility scooter from the west coast to the east coast thanking care workers along the way! You can read more about his thank you trip here: thankandpraise.com/coast-2-coast-spreading-positivity-across-the-nation