Essential workers manage job stress during pandemic better with gratitude
PROVO — A study by Assistant Professor Taeya Howell, from the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University, found that essential workers managed job stress during the pandemic better when getting expressions of gratitude.
Howell and her colleagues studied a large group of corrections workers from New England. Many of the workers said they felt as though the public showed no gratitude to them even as they celebrated workers in other professions.
The study found that corrections workers who got gratitude were more likely to manage their stress in healthy ways. Such as exercise, meditation, or spending time outdoors. Workers that did not get gratitude were involved in negative behavior. These behaviors include: drinking, smoking, and yelling.
Howell said they also studied another group of essential workers who said they had similar experiences.
“Receiving gratitude is important and does affect the kind of behavior that employees engage in to try and recover from their stressful work,” Howell said.
Howell also says business managers can do more to acknowledge workers’ efforts.
“It seems small, you know, a little certificate, but it actually kind of did help, so I think business leaders can definitely do more to express gratitude,” Howell said.
The study was published in the online journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
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