Work Culture

Kindness in the Workplace: Why You Should Care

by Nicholas Edwards on November 01, 2018

Have you ever been yelled at in work? How did you feel when it happened? If you have, then it’s likely to have had not only a negative impact on your day, but how you subsequently viewed the person who shouted at you and your place within the organisation.

Now think about the last time somebody did something kind for you in the workplace? How did it made you feel? The answer is almost certainly good.

Both these scenarios leave a lasting impression, but only one has a positive impact.

Kindness, like so many other things, is subjective, but one thing for sure is that acts of kindness can improve our mental, physical and collective wellbeing. From improving our heart health, to slowing down the ageing process, the benefits are endless.

In the workplace, kindness can improve employee engagement, a topic that is on the agenda for many organisations.

Why should we be kind in work?
We know that being kind at an individual level has a positive effect on our own wellbeing, extending that across an organisation can also have a significant effect on employee engagement. Here are just a few examples:

  • Your staff will be more creative

Being kind releases dopamine in the brain. This natural high makes you feel happier and more positive. When employees are more positive they are more likely to be creative, intelligent and productive.

  • Kindness is contagious

Acts of kindness often produce a ripple effect, creating meaningful connections in the workplace and building a caring and happy environment, where people are contented not dispirited.

  • Kindness boosts productivity

Research has found that people that work in a respectful environment, have 26% more energy, 36% more job satisfaction and 44% more commitment to their organisation. Engaged employees like these are more likely to be productive – in fact, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, highly engaged employees boost productivity by 17%.

How you can bring kindness into the workplace

To celebrate #KindnessinWork month, People First will be sharing tips on how you can bring kindness into your organisation. Check back daily for inspiration.

  • Tip #1 – Share your expertise: provide support for co-workers when they are struggling by reaching out and asking if there is any way you can lend a helping hand.
  • Tip #2 - Agitated at work? Take 5 and email yourself: Instead of criticising in a moment of frustration, write it in an email to yourself. Send, wait a moment, then read it. If it still seems important after those few minutes, by then you’ll probably have thought of a kinder, more constructive way to say it.

  • Tip #3 - Treat your co-worker to their Monday morning coffee: Get the week off to a good start!

  • Tip #4 - Give a glowing recommendation about a co-worker: Share positive feedback you heard about someone's work, especially if they weren't there to hear it first-hand. This could be publically thorough People First or through giving a recommendation on LinkedIn.

  • Tip #5 - Create a kindness wall…: A wall, a noticeboard... fill it with compliments, random acts of kindness and good news. Ask people to collaborate on the wall, bringing together their photos and thoughts.

  • Tip #6 - Bring lunch to the person who is “in the zone” (but also needs to eat): Regardless of whether this is a home-cooked healthy lunch, sweet treats and baked goods or something from the canteen; the unprovoked act of thoughtfulness and kindness is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face and make them look up from their screen.

  • Tip #7 - Start up a kindness committee: volunteer for a worthy cause or organise a whip around for your chosen charity within your office. Teamwork makes the dream work.

  • Tip #8 - Say “good morning” with a smile to everyone who crosses your path today: Treat everyone you interact with at your job with respect, trust and gratitude.

  • Tip #9 - Be kind to yourself - take breaks! And if you are a manager, set an example and encourage your team to take breaks too!

  • Tip #10 - Give a compliment: Thinking something nice about a co-worker? Share it! You could even start a compliments box where compliments can be shared anonymously.

  • Tip #11 - Give a warm welcome to a new member of staff: Introduce yourself to a new member of staff and contribute to their positive onboarding experience. Offer to show them around, introduce them to people or ask them to lunch. They, and your company will thank you for it.
  • Tip #12 – Sign up to be a mentor: Share your experience. Mentoring can range from offering practical guidance on how someone less experienced can advance their career and excel in their role, to just being available for an hour or so a month to listen and talk through any challenges they might be facing. LinkedIn also offers a mentoring functionality to connect people outside of the same office walls.

  • Tip #13 - Bring a reusable mug with you when you get your morning coffee: Kindness doesn't just need to be shown to yourself and your co-workers, but to the environment too!

  • Tip #14 - Be a cheerleader for someone else’s idea or project: celebrate their ideas, success and reward their good work.

  • Tip #15 - Look up from your screen: We need more connection in the world, so lift your attention from your screen and make eye contact with everyone you see, offering a smile and acknowledging their presence.

  • Tip #16 - Write a thank you note to your boss or co-worker, explaining how they helped you: why not leave a note on someone’s desk to say how awesome they are? If you do this at the end of the day so it is the first thing they see when they come in in the morning, it is guaranteed to start their tomorrow off with a smile.

  • Tip #17 - Share an uplifting blog post, news story or book with your network of co-workers: The news isn't all doom and gloom, although it maybe feel like that sometimes! The Happy Newspaper is a great place to look for any inspiring and happy stories from across the globe. Why not buy two online and leave one on a co-workers desk? Alternatively, why not share our kindness tips and spread the joy that way.

  • Tip #18 - Clearing the dirty dishes from your workspace? Extend the offer: There's nothing worse for you, your co-worker or the rest of the team than coming in in the morning to a mouldy mug left from the day before (or worse, longer). Keep on top of your and your desk mates cleanliness, and when you head to the kitchen, offer to grab any dishes from your teammates’ desks and bring them to the sink.

  • Tip #19 - Respect your co-workers. Respect their time: Keep your word and honour meetings in your calendar. Once in them, respect your colleagues' time and keep your meeting within the scheduled time. If a co-worker spends their time working on a project for you, thank them for their time.

  • Tip #20 - Connect two people in your network who have a shared interest: Introduce a job-hunting friend to a new connection, or just introduce two people that have a shared interest or passion. You never know where it might lead!

  • Tip #21 - Nominate someone for an award who deserves it: Say thank you, but why stop there? Go the extra mile and nominate the individual in question for an award. This can be awards within your organisation, industry awards or even invent your own award! For a bit of fun, maybe they could be awarded a prize too... how about a VIP parking slot for the month?

  • Tip #22 - Share the love!: The future of work is now and it is calling out for more kindness.


Have you experienced #KindnessinWork?

If you have experienced an act of kindness in the workplace, whether it is your current job or a previous one, we would love for you to share your story with us! People First has compiled a quick and anonymous #KindnessinWork survey to collect everyone's stories of workplace kindness from across the world and so far we have had some great ones, from one-liners to really heart-warming and moving accounts.

If you have a spare minute and something to share, please visit our #KindnessinWork survey or leave a comment below.

To follow the #KindnessinWork content, follow People First on LinkedIn and Twitter