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CultureLab: being grateful as a company

At Charlie, we’re always questioning how we can do our best work and build the environment in which we do it. We’re sharing our experiences and documenting our journey in the hope that others can learn from it too! You can read more about #CultureLab here.

The Theory

There are a few people on the team who keep a gratitude journal. Each morning - as one of the first things they do to start their day - they note down three things they’re grateful for. The entries are brief and range from the routine (“the weather” / “breakfast”) to more profound expressions of gratitude for the love of their family and friends. It’s now widely accepted that this simple daily exercise reaps psychological, social and even physical benefits.

At Charlie, when we find things outside of work that excite and inspire us, we often share them with each other in the office. When we realised that there were several people who enjoyed keeping their gratitude journal, we wondered whether we could adopt a similar process as a team...

Would keeping an open gratitude log across the business be useful? Would it create positive benefits for everyone? Would it help us learn more about each other and appreciate our relationships more? Or is this something that is best done individually?

The Method

  • We set up a Slack channel called “be-grateful”
  • Everyone was invited to post an entry each morning
  • We ran the experiment over a two week period and gathered qualitative feedback throughout
  • At the end, we voted on whether to keep the channel or ditch it

The Experiment

Everyone shared.

The biggest kudos goes to family and friends…


… and lots to each other too!


Many referenced the chance to learn...


… and others the life experiences they enjoy.


Being British, of course, the weather gets a regular lookin…


… and the channel was often populated with gags that would make zero sense to anyone other than those who sit with us in our office!

The Feedback##

At the start, as perhaps we expected, there was a mixed response and some apprehension. Those who already kept a journal seemed less concerned - it was a simple extension of an existing habit - but those new to the concept were more concerned.

“Happy we’re doing this. I used to do this ages ago, and don't know why I stopped.”

“I’m apprehensive. I wasn't really sure what to expect and that always makes me feel a bit uneasy.”

“I thought it would get old quickly and become difficult to feel grateful every day.”

“I was hesitant everyone else would slightly cringe and that would make it a weird habit for everyone to adopt.”

Nevertheless, with the spirit of an open mind people got stuck in, and many were pleasantly surprised at the outcome:

“Thoroughly enjoy it. I’m surprised by how much enjoyment I've gotten from reading the gratitude of others.”

“It hasn't been a bad habit to get into for myself, reflecting on what I'm thankful for. On balance I've probably enjoyed it more than I expected to.”

“It's surprised me - I look forward to reading the channel. I think that's mainly because it's novel though, give it a month and I think I would get sick of it?”

A majority of the team found it valuable and wanted to keep the channel available.

“100%. I'd miss it, and that's an honest answer.”

“Yes! It takes no time and would be a shame not to carry it on. I feel like I'm learning things about people that I didn't know before.”

But it wasn’t for everyone!

“I don't think so. I'm not sure how sustainable/beneficial it really is.”

There were at least two people who didn’t feel they wanted to continue it in its present format but did commit to exploring whether they might continue on their own.

The Verdict

So, does the channel live or die?

Generally, it seems to have been brilliant at best and harmless at worst, so we’ve decided to keep it available for everyone. We won’t promote its use, but will ensure new joiners are introduced and can get involved if and when they feel like it.

We expect that without the experiment “live” the engagement will decrease but it leaves those who have enjoyed it and benefitted the most with the option to continue, even if on a more sporadic basis. As ever, the real test will be whether or not the channel is active several months from now. We’ll revisit this then and update this post with the verdict!