Seattle natives don’t necessarily like to acknowledge its existence, but the term “Seattle Freeze” refers to more than the seasonal drop in temperature that we are currently experiencing. While some Seattleites believe that the “Seattle Freeze” is merely a myth, PEMCO Insurance recently conducted a survey on the frosty phenomenon proving it is real. The survey found that 49 percent of Pacific Northwest residents simply do not want to interact with people that they do not know. Imagine moving to a city where nearly 50 percent of the inhabitants do not want to interact with you…

Though we may not be proud of the frosty welcome that transplants to the Emerald City experience, we can begin to change the culture of our city by starting to improve the culture in our workplaces. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, one timely way that we can start shifting company culture to reflect a more positive, warm, and friendly environment is to exhibit an attitude of gratitude. The following are three ways that we can start thawing the “Seattle Freeze”.  

  1. Write it- An exercise that is gaining popularity is writing in a gratitude journal daily. By making a habit out of taking a few minutes every day to focus on what you are thankful for, you can improve your overall demeanor- making yourself more open to others and new experiences. Exhibiting more of a positive, prosocial attitude will help to ensure that you aren’t freezing newcomers (or even your coworkers) out.
  • Say it- Writing what you are thankful for in a journal is a good start, but if you want to be a part of thawing Seattle’s cold reputation, start verbalizing your gratitude. A 2014 study that was published in Emotion found that the simple act of thanking an acquaintance increases the likelihood that they will seek an ongoing relationship with you. Whether someone opens the door for you, or your coworker assists you on a project, saying “thank you” can be the start of a meaningful connection.
  • Share it- Although gratitude boards in the break room, annual awards and team outings are all fun ways to express gratitude, frequent feedback on a smaller scale will build a positive company culture gradually and is more sustainable. Big expressions of gratitude are always encouraged, but it is the manner in which we interact with others daily that will truly make a difference. Don’t hesitate to take a moment at a staff meeting to thank a coworker or treat them to lunch as a way to say “thank you”.

With Turkey Day just a week away, now is the perfect time to start implementing these freeze thawing ideas into your routine!