Conventional wisdom suggests sharing workplace “Thank You’s” as close to possible to the act that you are thanking colleagues for. But that’s not always possible, especially in a busy workplace.
Another approach is to use a traditional holiday like Thanksgiving, a year-end celebration or an annual event such as National Thank You Month in January as a prescribed time and opportunity to show gratitude to your hard-working team.
Perhaps your New Year’s resolution at work (and at home) was to make sure those around you feel appreciated. Maybe you had every intention of conveying that gratitude back during National Thank You month. But things got hectic and suddenly it’s spring. It would be a mistake let the embarrassment over the amount of time that has passed be the reason you don’t thank or acknowledge someone.
Well done, that gratitude is still meaningful and important to recipients.
Workplace “Thank Yous” Are Important – Don’t Miss the Opportunity!
If you missed the boat on Thanksgiving and January snuck past you, don’t despair. Share your gratitude when you can. It will always be appreciated if it’s thoughtful and sincere. In fact, in a recent New York Times Smarter Living essay entitled, “Today, Go Say an Overdue Thank You. It’ll Make You Feel Better,” writer Tim Herrera shared that after encouraging readers to check something off of their to-do list the month prior, he was surprised by how many of the responses involved expressing gratitude.
“The overwhelming feeling that people said they came away with was this: Expressing long-overdue gratitude had a meaningful, positive impact for both sender and receiver.”
So, clearly you’re not alone in feeling that gratitude you owe someone might be overdue.
In a Huffington Post blog post, “Why Is ‘Thank You’ Difficult for Some People to Say?” Diane Gottsman explores the factors that keep some people from expressing appreciation (including discomfort, distraction and unresolved conflict). She concludes with this message, “Regardless of the reason, there is never a valid excuse to avoid a ‘thank you.’ Intentionally doing so is dismissive and disrespectful. Keeping quiet sends the message of indifference which can strain both social and workplace relationships.”
In thinking back on your own experiences at work and with friends and family, it’s likely that getting a tardy thank you was still much appreciated, while getting no thank you at all might still smart.
How to Write Belated Workplace “Thank Yous”
The Thank You Note Diva has some strong words AND helpful suggestions for those feeling guilty about not saying thanks. She recommends briefly acknowledging the tardy arrival of the thank you, explaining that,
“A brief apology for the lateness of the note is quite sufficient. Avoid explanations and excuses about why you didn’t write earlier – such wordings risk diluting your gratitude and sincerity.”
She also advises, “Never let your ‘sorry’ outweigh the ‘thank you.”
Looking for some sample phrases to jump-start your overdue thank you? Whether you are writing a note or thanking someone in person, The Thank You Note Diva offers these suggestions:
· A belated – but heartfelt – thank you for…
· I’m truly sorry for being so late in thanking you for…
· Apologies that I have taken so long to get in touch to thank you for…
· I am ashamed that this note is so very late, but I really want to thank you for…
· I’m very sorry that it has taken me so long to write to thank you for…
· I know that this note has been very long in coming, but I want you to know how much I appreciate…
She opened her blog post “Belated/late thank you notes, cards and letters: Why It’s Never Too Late to Send Them” with a quote from Martin Luther King which serves as a reassuring reminder:
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
So it’s never too late to start those welcomed workplace “Thank Yous”!
Learn Why Gratitude Builds Better Workplaces
Your workplace “Thank You’s” aren’t just nice to do. Overtime, sharing sincere, thoughtful and specific appreciation with employees fosters happiness, loyalty and a more successful workplace culture. Learn how to use gratitude to build a better workplace that employees love and where they are more productive.
Download our FREE how-to guide, “Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude” and start today.
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