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5 Tips to Reduce Stress by Showing Appreciation

If you want employees to stick around, it's essential to create an environment that’s supportive and stress-free. Here are five tips to reduce stress in the workplace by showing appreciation.

Reduce stress by establishing daily appreciation rituals

Showing genuine appreciation for your employees can go a long way toward creating a peaceful work culture. But, you must make it a consistent habit to see lasting effects on morale and work performance.

You don't have to go overboard and shower your employees with praise and gifts daily to reduce stress and show appreciation. But simple, meaningful gestures practiced regularly can have a lasting impact on the mood of the office. Being genuine in your interactions and showing appreciation for the hard work that your employees do is the best way to achieve this result.

Make these a daily ritual:

  • Get up early to say good morning to the team and greet them with a smile;
  • Be the last one out the door so you can wish the staff a good evening;
  • Thank them for all they do will let them know that you acknowledge their effort;
  • Surprise your staff with small appreciation;
    • Notes, tokens, or treat them to things you know they may like;
  • Personalise the messages, so it comes from the heart and isn't an automated memo.

Incorporating these small appreciation rituals into your daily routine will help reduce stress and curb negative feelings in the workplace that may create tension or resentment.

It's always cheaper and less disruptive to your workflow to retain existing employees than to hire new team members. One of the main reasons some employers struggle to maintain personnel for the long term is lack of appreciation.

Loyal employees who are staying at your company for the long term should be shown appreciation. They may be turning down opportunities or taking time away from their families and other responsibilities to continue delivering exceptional results, year after year. So, no one wants to feel like their efforts are going unnoticed and unacknowledged.

Ultimately, you give them a paycheck, so you don't have to go overboard with praise. But regularly showing appreciation can go a long way toward making your team feel valued and acknowledged by the company.

However, it's far too easy to get busy with other tasks and forget to let your staff know how much you value their work. Make these rituals a part of your normal routine, so they become a daily, weekly, or monthly habit. Then, you will never forget to show them how much you care.

Get to know your employees & colleagues

Asking people about themselves and their experiences is another way to show your respect and appreciation for who they are.

We suggest steering away from black-and-white conversations or conversations that naturally create division (like politics) and instead get to know your employees or colleagues personally through positive questions about their favorite things, their goals, and their experiences.

Keep it simple with questions like:

  • What's the farthest place you've ever traveled?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  • What's your favorite nursery rhyme or fairy tale?
  • What's your favorite TV channel or show?
  • What is your favorite food or meal?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • What is your favorite pizza topping?

These introductory questions are fun, light, and a good place to start, allowing people to open up while still feeling comfortable.

Or, ask deeper questions like:

  • What's an important turning point in your life?
  • What's a stressful experience you lived through?
  • Give an example of goals you're working toward.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • Describe an experience that made you grow into a better person.
  • What are some things you often worry about?

These questions get at the root of who you're working with to create a strong appreciation between employees and colleagues.

It's important to avoid workplace conflicts as much as possible, if you want to maintain a healthy work environment. No matter how minor, any dispute can spiral out of control and impact the entire office. That isn't to say that conflicts won't arise from time to time, no matter what you do. But the more proactive you are about mitigating disagreement and encouraging open communication amongst staff, the easier it will be to calm tensions.

Some of the leading causes of workplace conflict are poor communication, unpleasant behaviors, and unmet needs. So, encouraging open communication between employees through icebreakers is a great way to reduce the potential for conflict. It allows your staff to see each other as multi-faceted human beings who are more than merely coworkers. It also allows staff to open up about their goals and personal beliefs, which can be a great catalyst for bonding and the development of meaningful work relationships. But it all begins with how you steer the conversation, so be sure that your topics and icebreakers promote unity, rather than division.

Develop peer-to-peer recognition programs

Workplace culture isn't only about the relationship between management and the staff; it's also about how your team interacts and collaborates on tasks. So, you must encourage employees to show the same appreciation and personal commitment to each other.

One way to do this is by creating peer recognition programs where staff can send each other messages or gifts to express their admiration and respect for their colleagues. Doing so encourages them to interact in a way that is positive and affirming rather than confrontational or stress-inducing.

Harvard Business Review found that peer-to-peer recognition programs are proven to give companies a boost in engagement and employee retention that is similar to offering a raise. However, appreciation programs are 95% less expensive than a salary increase, which provides a considerable incentive for business owners.

Although everyone likes to be acknowledged by their boss, we truly crave recognition from our peers. Most employees understand that as a manager or business owner, you have an incentive to keep morale high.

So, while compliments and rewards are always appreciated, they may not mean as much as when it comes from those who have little incentive to show their admiration. That's why peer-to-peer recognition programs are so effective, because the feedback often feels more genuine coming from a fellow colleague and not a superior.

But, you can still reap the benefits of longer employee retention by not having to spend as much on yearly raises to keep your team on board. Ultimately, both employer and peer recognition are important. However, staff may be reluctant to provide acknowledgment on their own, which is why you should consider implementing peer recognition programs to promote consistent feedback and appreciation amongst your employees.

Host regular parties & team performance meetings

Parties and performance meetings are a great way to reduce stress, boost morale, and keep everybody calm and engaged. They don't have to be extravagant affairs with a massive planning budget. Something simple—like a pizza party Friday or ordering a cake for someone's birthday—can generate excitement that helps break up the monotony of the workday.

Also, hosting regular performance meetings to highlight the team's achievements can be a great way to build team spirit and make your employees feel valued.

HR Expert, Pamala Hurd, says that her team randomly gives away a $25.00 gift card every Friday at lunchtime. A gesture like this makes staff feel appreciated and creates a fun incentive to work hard throughout the week.

All work and no play can make your office culture feel dry and uninspiring. So, going the extra mile to give your staff something to look forward to will help reduce tensions and keep everyone in a positive mood.

Parties are not only fun; they allow employees to decompress and communicate with each other in a more relaxed setting than the traditional office structure. But because you're having fun doesn't mean you can't be productive at the same time.

During these office parties, take the time to recognise recent achievements, discuss upcoming events, touch on any goals the team should be working toward, and even provide constructive criticism on improving.

Save the in-depth analysis for a more formal situation and let staff enjoy their freedom. But there's nothing wrong with discussing important matters while providing positive reinforcement for recent accomplishments.

Show your appreciation publicly

Finally, to create a calm, copasetic environment in your workplace, it's crucial to make praise and appreciation public whenever possible. While private acknowledgment is also essential, public announcements help boost morale even more.

Here are some ideas to reduce stress and show appreciation.

  • Shout-out in a meeting or company email team members who went the extra mile;
  • Consider some form of an employee of the month program to encourage rising stars;
  • Have a recurring program to recognise one or a few individuals and provide praise;
  • Create incentives that will show your staff their hard work does pay off;
  • Add photos of special employees on a bulletin or wall of fame for the office to see;
  • Post about team successes on the company social media pages;
    • Be sure to include hashtags, emojis and captions that come from the heart.

But while it's important to display these acts of gratitude publicly, it's also best to do so in a way that is genuine and non-competitive. You don't want staff to think you're doing it for attention or to make the company look better, especially when it comes to posting on social media.

You also don't want employees who aren't recognised to feel like they're being left out or criticised. There's nothing wrong with friendly competition; make sure that you recognise everyone who is putting in the work equally and don't add unnecessary tensions or pressure to the workplace.

Ultimately, the best way to promote a stress-free work culture is to make staff members feel respected and appreciated. So, the more you can foster positive communication and feedback from management and everyone in the office, the more relaxed and engaging the workplace will be.


Maintaining a stress-free workplace is crucial to encouraging productivity and retaining employees for the long term. So, if you want to keep conflict low and promote a calm, copacetic environment, it helps to show your appreciation and encourage staff and management to do the same.

A genuine thank you at the end of a long day is a good start, but if you want lasting results, you should institute regular appreciation rituals and programs to show your team how much you appreciate their efforts. Ice breakers, parties, and peer recognition programs are great ways to show your employees how much you value their work and sacrifice and will go a long way toward maintaining a peaceful, stress-free environment.

About the Author: 

Tiffany Young is a writer, editor, and Human Resources expert. She has a bachelor's and master’s degree in Business Administration and Social Work. She writes and edits articles about how business leaders can create the perfect work environment.

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