Showing Gratitude in the Distributed Workplace

Showing Gratitude in the Distributed Workplace

Do some of your colleagues work with someone they’ve not yet met in person? With the number of distributed multinational organizations on the rise, it’s not uncommon to have teams separated by time zones. It’s still relatively new territory for many managers and HR professionals, and many are carving out their own paths toward relationship building, and more specifically, showing gratitude.

Sound familiar to you? If so, you might be considering ways to help your team connect and create solid working relationships. 

Take Josh, for example. He works out of his company’s Vienna office. His boss, Tamara, lives and works in California. Erin, Tamara’s other direct report, is in Singapore.

Aside from having some ‘interesting’ live meeting logistics, these far-flung colleagues have another challenge at hand—one that is key to building rapport.

They have to show gratitude remotely. So when Erin saves the day in a virtual client meeting, Josh or Tamara might think they’re limited to offering her a shout-out on a team call or sending a quick email or instant message.


But they have options, my friend.

(No, we didn’t mean this, either. Though we do love a good canine high five!)


With distributed and remote work on the rise and projected to grow, these folks are definitely not alone. If your company is one upon which the sun never sets, then you know this intimately. How can leaders acknowledge and thank employees when they may be separated by miles or time zones?

Here’s what pros in some of today’s leading remote and hybrid organizations have to say about thanking their colleagues.

  • The folks at Doist recommend building a gratitude habit. Taking a five-minute gratitude break and thanking a coworker before you wrap for the day are two quick and easy ways to introduce location-independent appreciation at your company. Messages, emails, calls, GIFs, certificates and public-facing posts represent just a few of the options available to distributed teams.
  • There’s commitment, and then there’s day-to-day life. The team at Aha! shows their appreciation every day. They’re not talking about dropping a quick one-line email, either—but rather sharing why you’re grateful for them, how they contribute to the team and make their own work better. (Is someone cutting onions in here?) Note: specificity makes coworkers’ praise all the more memorable.
  • Sincere and consistent thanks are the way to go at Trello. Frequently showing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ toward your teammates builds stronger feelings of self-efficacy and social worth, and if you know of a company culture or productivity hack better than that, we’d love to hear about it! (Click for the blog post, stay for the GIFs…) 
  • According to, kudos don’t have to be shared synchronously—and the act of sending a thoughtful, tangible gift out via snail mail can mean so much in an era of stuffed inboxes. Sometimes an unexpected surprise winds up being the gift that makes the biggest impression. 
As the workforce expands to include a variety of flexible roles, building strong teams and a robust company culture requires even more deliberate consideration. Click To Tweet

Not only is showing appreciation is a cornerstone of that effort, it’s one that knows no hierarchy: it can be peer-to-peer, bottom-up or top-down. Whether teammates are across the room or in another country, they deserve gratitude for excellent performance (and as mentioned, their loyalty will show it). 

Tell us: How have you given kudos to your teammates? Tried out any of the above, or have suggestions for our community? 

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