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Tomorrow, April 28th is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Most of us spontaneously think more of a safe workplace design in the sense of accident avoidance.

By far, the greater health impact in the workplace, however, is stress. In surveys, nearly three of four people questioned say that the workplace is their most significant stress factor.

What Exactly Causes Stress In The Workplace?

When it comes to stress in the workplace, the most common triggers cited are time pressure and heavy workload. However, a primarily underestimated phenomenon is a lack of appreciation and saying thank you.

If one follows the Effort-Reward-Imbalance Model (Sigrist, 1996), the perceived balance of high effort and low reward impacts the health of the respective person. Reward does not only refer to financial compensation. Instead, the status of the person, their prospects, and the supervisor’s or the company’s recognition are equally important. In other words, if an employee shows a high level of work effort and feels little rewarded, then this harms health. Keep in mind, it is not about the actual reward but rather how the individual employee rates it subjectively.

As a result, with a combination of high investment and low reward, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases by 2 to 4.5 times, and for depressive disorders by up to 3.5 times (Sigrist & Dragano, 2008).

How can we succeed in reducing the imbalance between effort and reward and the associated health risk? One magic words are ‘thank you for your hard work’.

For Strategies To Thank Your Employees For Hard Work


Extended freedom of action

If employees can plan their working hours and their tasks independently, it increases job satisfaction and reduces perceived stress. The freedom gained in this way and the trust in the employee’s ability improve their self-esteem and intensify motivation.
Working in the home office also enhances work-life balance and, as the latest surveys confirm, leads to less stressful experiences.
An additional bonus: family and work can be balanced more efficiently, a stress factor for many working people that should not be underestimated.

Positive Feedback For Good Work

Thank your employees for a good performance regularly and in an appropriate dose. In everyday working life, many of us usually forget to provide positive feedback.
Usually, we discuss issues that did not go so well. It is crucial to express honest acknowledgment more often, perhaps in front of the entire team. And do it promptly.

Offer Small Rewards

From time to time, everyone is happy to receive a small reward. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should be tailored to the particular employee.
The bonus can be an invitation to lunch, a surprise egg for the sweet tooth, or a coffee-to-go for the “caffeine junkie”.

Active Listening

Talk to your employees regularly. Where is the shoe pinching? What makes the job difficult? What conflicts exist in the team? Listen to them deeply.
Active listening means that the other person speaks without interruption. Breaks are also welcome. Accept what you hear without judgment – it is the opinion of a person; you do not have to agree.
Do not interpret the statements as a call to action that you have to follow. Your employees’ perception does not necessarily have to correspond to reality. Instead, it is their unique point of view.
Active listening is difficult for most of us. Why? As we listen to someone, assumptions automatically arise in our brains about what the person will say or what their motives are. This usually prevents us from REALLY listening as our thoughts wander or we are already formulating an answer. Try to get involved in the conversation.
Besides, we often have our own agenda. For example, if an employee describes a conflict with a colleague, this may trigger a defensive reaction in you. You may see a problem approaching you that you would like to bypass. In this case, you will subconsciously try to lead the conversation in a different direction. Avoid this impulse.
In essence, it is about putting yourself in the shoes of the talker and understanding what moves them.

Overall, thanking your employees and colleagues is beneficial.
Next to a health-promoting effect, a perceived appreciation has other positive effects too.

In addition to increased motivation and trust, relationships improve within the team and the entire company. Thanking people is therefore valuable for everyone.

Take Away

  • Stress in the workplace is a risk factor for your employee’s physical and mental health.
  • A Thank You by the company or leadership positively affects health in the workplace.
  • You can provide appreciation through more self-determination, positive feedback, small rewards, and active listening.

Do you feel valued by your company? How do you experience appreciation, or how do you thank others? I look forward to having a conversation and more ideas.

Are you stressed or unhappy in your job? What about a laser-focused coaching, where we can work through everything?

Schedule A Free Discovery Call

Do you want to learn more about the importance of appreciation and thankfulness at the workplace? Please watch this powerful video.

Andrea Seekatz

I'm a trained & certified coach (ICF) and psychologist. Don't forget: Take Care of Your Self.

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