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How to Express Appreciation to a Coworker

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Most people enjoy receiving acknowledgement for a job well done, and your coworkers are no exception. While many people are "not fluent in the language of positive emotions in the workplace," the experience of positive emotions, such as those derived from receiving a compliment or a small token of appreciation, is energizing and can positively impact work performance, notes author, president and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz. Expressing appreciation does not require much, but it is often much appreciated by the recipient.

Say Thank You

Keep it simple and offer a simple thank you to express appreciation. You can tell someone thank you verbally, or take the time to write them a quick thank you note, suggests the website It may seem a bit obvious that it is appropriate to tell someone thank you for a kindness performed, but other work demands and distractions may prevent you from taking the time to really thank your coworker for a specific task with which he helped you.

Highlight Their Work

If you want to make your coworker feel special and appreciated, highlight his helpfulness to other staff members or to your boss. Mention your colleague's good deeds at your next staff meeting, or write an acknowledgement of helpfulness to your direct supervisor or human resources department. Find out if your company has an incentive program that allows colleagues to highlight good deeds done by other colleagues, and ask how you may make a candidate submission. Your coworker will be very surprised to see that his hard work, thoughtfulness and teamwork has not gone unnoticed.

Offer Lunch

As food is an essential part of life, your colleague would likely appreciate you treating her to lunch as a token of appreciation. Find out what her favorite foods are from her or other coworkers. Offer to take her out to lunch or offer to pay for her lunch in your workplace's cafeteria, if applicable. If you find that your coworker barely has time to go out for lunch, or if you want to do something different, purchase a small gift certificate to her favorite restaurant that she can use at her leisure. Be sure to tell her that you are treating her to lunch because you appreciate the helpfulness she has shown you in the workplace.

A Small Token

In addition to a nominal gift card, you can create a handmade show of appreciation for your coworker's helpfulness, such as a flower pen or a handmade flyer with a positive quote for him to frame or put in his cubicle. You can also give him a small fruit basket or candy dish. Keep the gifts small and reasonable so that your coworker does not feel uncomfortable when receiving the gift. Be sure to express your gratitude verbally as well, reminding your coworker of the specific act of kindness he performed that prompted you to give the small token of appreciation.