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The Modern Workplace

Thinking about how expressions of gratitude can be communicated in a "new age" of workspaces.

Photo of Daniel Wexler
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When thinking about gratitude in the workplace, it is imperative that we consider what the “modern” office looks like. Non-traditional offices structures are becoming more relevant as technology now allows us to collaborate with coworkers from anywhere in the world. It is not uncommon for full time employees, who work closely together on projects, to operate out of entirely different cities. This has been made increasingly possible with the surge in popularity of co-working spaces, which add a new element to the equation, as the workspace can now include multiple different organizations operating separately. Thus there are two new challenges to consider when thinking about the “modern” workspace:

  • How is gratitude expressed meaningfully when coworkers are not in the same physical space?
  • How can gratitude be shared between individuals who share the same workspace, but do not interact professionally with one another?

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I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience.

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Photo of Jessica Pandy

Hey Daniel, after reading your post and gave some thoughts on it, I could say that the answer to your questions would be technology implementation, as simple as a group chat. I also stumbled upon your other post where you share about your experience interning in a company which uses a group chat with a group specifically to announce positive things that are happening related to the company. I feel like that post could be a possible solution to how you would express gratitude in the "modern" office. Furthermore, I believe that in building a habit of expressing gratitude in a workplace, the teams would need a leader that would guide them in doing exactly that. A simple solution that comes to mind is weekly team meetings where the manager or team leader could highlights some of the positive things that happened over the week. As the leader starts to express gratitude in the weekly meetings by mentioning positive things that happened, the team would eventually be comfortable enough and encouraged to do the same thing, i.e. expressing gratitude to each other. Once the team does that, hopefully they would experience the impact of showing gratitude and would influence other teams in the company to do the same thing. As for how they are going to express gratitude, I do think that they would need an incentive and it would be useful to maybe brainstorm around that idea.

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