Want to Improve Team Dynamics in 2015? Just Say Thanks.

A little 'thank you' goes a long way

There’s no shortage of studies focusing on how to improve productivity in your business centre.

From office design and layout to pleasant aromas and quirky seating, we’ve covered a vast array of studies on OT. All of them offer insights on how to add more punch to your productivity.

But are we taking things a bit too far? Perhaps it’s time to go back to basics.

Let’s take a look at the essential must-haves at work with the help of Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs. A warm and pleasant business centre environment is one of them. After all this is one of Maslow’s most basic ‘needs’ – and business centre clients and management staff alike require a safe and functioning environment in which to work.

Assuming you’ve ticked that box (and if you haven’t you probably shouldn’t be running a business centre), it’s time to look higher up the list.


Right in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy is the ‘Social’ need, or ‘Love and Belonging’, followed by ‘Esteem’ – bringing the need for achievement and respect into the equation.

You could argue that simple gratitude at work fits snugly into one or both of these layers, and is therefore of high importance. Yet, a recent study from the John Templeton Foundation found that the office is one of the last places where you would hear or express gratitude.

Fancy that! The office – a place where people come together to do business, broker deals, make money, train people, offer jobs, fuel the economy, and basically make the business world go around. All this without so much as a ‘thank you’?

It’s not quite that bad. But the study shows that staff happiness and motivation (and therefore productivity) could certainly be improved with a little extra display of gratitude.

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Here are the key results (study by John Templeton Foundation based on a 2012 poll of 2,000 people in U.S.):

  • People are eager to have a boss who expresses gratitude to them. 70% would feel better about themselves if their boss were more grateful and 81% would work harder.
  • Yet, 74% never or rarely express gratitude to their boss.
  • 94% of women and 96% of men agree that a grateful boss is more likely to be successful. Only 18% feel a grateful boss could be seen as weak.
  • Asked about their own habits and feelings about gratitude, only 1% selected “I think that gratitude is unnecessary.”

Contributing to 99U, Carmel Hagen – Head of Brand Strategy and Sales at Adobe and a TEDx speaker – offered some insightful pearls of wisdom on the topic.

“It’s normal to give gratitude a backseat when your brain’s full of to-dos, but a growing body of science suggests forgetting your thank you’s might be to blame for unhappiness at work,” she said.

Carmel pointed to research from Harvard Health, which suggests that “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Whatever your position in the business – owner, secretary, apprentice, freelancer – never let your “thank you’s” fall by the wayside. Carmel advises on making thankfulness a habit, and even suggests three ways to make it a part of your daily working life (read them here). Whether you offer a quick ‘thanks’, a belated email of gratitude or a pat on the back, you don’t need extensive research to tell you that a little gratitude goes a long, long way.

It’s easy: just say thanks!

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