The Best Tool for Building the Happiest Workplaces… That Everyone Forgets to Use

Why is it that although there are many simple tools to make life and work better, we seem to repeatedly forget to use them? Could it be that we think these everyday tools are just too simple to be effective? Do we overlook these easy actions because we believe that complexity equals efficacy? At Plasticity, our mission is to give people the skills to create happier, higher performing workforces. And even though we say that the habits of high performing people require intention and effort to build, those actions don’t need to be complicated. They can be as simple as brushing your teeth, or perhaps even as simple as being nice, using a sticky note and a sharpie and a smile.

In research1 performed by Dr. Buote, it was determined that gratitude is a vital part of workplace culture. Practicing gratitude at work reaps many benefits: “grateful people [are] happier, often have better moods, they are also more trusting and feel greater support from others”. Dr. Buote outlines that shockingly, “only 30% of people express thanks to co-workers several times a week, and only 20% thank their boss several times a week. A full 35% of people never thank their boss and 29% never thank a co-worker”.

In a study2 where some participants were asked to list the things they are grateful for while others listed the hassles, “the gratitude group reported increased positive emotions, reduced symptoms of physical illness, and were more likely to help or support someone else”.  Expressing gratitude encourages stronger team relationships and a more positive work environment.

Since moving into our new office space, we have decided to practice what our scientists preach by creating our own Gratitude Wall: a positive and constructive way for employees to routinely express who and what they are grateful for.


This idea sprouted from The Smile Epidemic, a project that encourages people to be mindful of the simple things in life that bring them happiness. The wall is an activity designed to encourage mindfulness and think in terms of gratitude, rather than condemnation. It is symbolic of our own growth, as we train our brains to expand and think more mindfully. The wall truly strengthens our workplace culture.

One of the best parts about our Gratitude Wall is seeing everyone who comes to visit our office stop and write a note. It is amazing to see everyone pause from the hustle of their daily lives and reflect on what they are grateful for in that moment.

Expressing gratitude is simple and easy, and the benefits extend indefinitely. The FIRST EVER Smile Epidemic meet up is taking place on June 9, 2016 at 5:00pm, at the Communitech Hub. Everyone is welcome to join and add their own note to the Gratitude Wall! Visit the event page for more information. We hope to see you all there.



1Buote, Vanessa. (N.D.). Gratitude at Work: Its Impact on Job Satisfaction & Sense of Community. Plasticity Labs.

2Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, (2), 377-389.


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