Whether you’re coming up on your one-year WFH anniversary or you’re already back in the office, you might find workplace morale to be low right now. So much of what we enjoyed about work has changed or disappeared, and can leave us feeling deflated and less equipped to deal with day-to-day stressors. 

You might think you need to completely revamp your workday routine to boost spirits for both yourself and your colleagues, but think again: Something as small as offering a compliment yields great power over the way we feel. In two separate studies, researchers found that we often underestimate the positive impact of a compliment, and overestimate how “awkward” or “uncomfortable” the interaction would feel in action — a.k.a. our self-consciousness often stops us from offering praise to other people. 

“When it comes to deciding whether to express praise or appreciation to another person, doubt creeps in,”  the researchers wrote for Harvard Business Review. “We find that people are overly concerned about their ability to convey praise skillfully (‘What if my delivery is awkward?’), and their anxiety leaves them overly pessimistic about the effects their messages will have.” 

With this in mind, make a conscious effort to push doubt aside the next time you’re considering paying a compliment to a colleague. You’ll quickly realize the benefits of sharing appreciation or gratitude (like improved well-being, performance, and relationships, among others) outweigh any sort of hesitation you might feel about the situation. So, take the leap and try this: Take a moment every day or week to compliment a co-worker on a job well done. It’s one of the best ways to show gratitude and can help both of you cope better with stress and boost your resilience, too.


  • Jessica Hicks

    Managing Editor at Thrive

    Jessica Hicks is a managing editor at Thrive. She graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in journalism, sociology, and anthropology, and is passionate about using storytelling to ignite positive change in the lives of others.