Easy Ways to Spread Kindness at Work

Kindness matters just as much in workplace relationships as it does in personal ones.

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Thoughtful gift
Thoughtful gift

Kindness can change your life and your perspective. 

Studies also prove people who give to others report feeling happier. What’s more, givers are more likely to continue to do so in the future.

Giving doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to be genuine.

To show your employees and coworkers kindness, a simple gesture like lending a helping hand during a tough project can be enough. Or, if a coworker’s car is in the shop, offer to carpool to work.

Regularly doing meaningful gestures will make you feel good, and it creates a more harmonious environment at work and in life in general. Scattering kindness is shown to improve relationships, reduce stress, and even lower blood pressure.

Here are 13 ways to offer acts of kindness at work:

1. Create a Kindness Bulletin Board

Decorate a bulletin board with kindness quotes. Save an open space for employees to write positive, uplifting messages about one another. It can be anonymous, and it’s a great way to lift one another up for everyone to see.

2. Start a Birthday Party Fund 

Most people enjoy celebrating their birthdays. If you’ve ever been in a workplace where no one so much as mutters “Happy Birthday” on your day, it can be a bummer. Celebrate the people you work with by creating a special birthday party fund. Use the funds for a small gift or even a party to celebrate monthly birthdays together.

3. Bring in Coffee for Coworkers

Surprise everyone with freshly-brewed coffee from a favorite local coffee shop or chain. Coworkers who aren’t morning people will especially appreciate the gesture. It’ll be a nice change from the usual office coffee options, too. If you bring creamer, don’t forget dairy-free options for those intolerant of dairy. They’ll really appreciate your thoughtfulness in letting them indulge, too.

4. Start Every Meeting with a Kindness Quote 

It gives employees a nice thought to ponder on. Some great quotes to start with:

  • “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” — Unknown
  • “Give away kindness like you’ve got a hole in your pocket.” — Bob Goff
  • “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop

5. Open the Door for Someone

In a world where we are always rushing, look for opportunities to slow down and help others. A simple and often overlooked gesture: opening the door. Whether it’s for colleagues coming into a meeting or an elderly customer struggling with a heavy door, it takes seconds to help someone out.

6. Write a Thank You Card

Handwritten thank you notes are a rarity these days. Think of a coworker or supervisor who has done something you really appreciate and let them know about it in a thank you card. 

7. Help Someone Carrying Too Much

See a coworker struggling with a ton of items in their hands? Ask to help out. Their grateful smile will be all the thanks you’ll need. If you see a coworker or employee struggling emotionally, reach out and ask how you can help. They may just need a listening ear.

8. Smile 

Smiling is good for all of us. When we purposefully smile, it actually changes our brain chemistry in positive ways. When we genuinely smile (showing laugh lines and all!), it helps us bond with others. Next time you’re walking down the hall, smile at the people you pass. They’ll more than likely give you a smile right back.

9. Write and Share Kind Notes 

Randomly, leave nice notes on someone’s desk. There’s so many ways to do it: make a smiley face note, offer a compliment on a recent project they did, or leave a thought-provoking quote. Whether you sign your name or not, a kind note can help someone go from an okay day to a great day.

10. Have Meaningful Conversations 

Small talk is great for the elevator. It’s not so great for developing authentic and personal relationships in the workplace. By engaging in conversations about topics other than work projects, it gives others a chance to see the “real you” and not just the working version of you. Talk about your dog, your kids, your parents. Ask coworkers about vacation plans and even their weekend plans. Dig a little to find out what interests the other person. Follow-up and engage regularly to build meaningful connections. 

11. Celebrate One Another 

Whether an employee or coworker accomplishes a big or small goal, celebrate it. Give a shoutout in a meeting. Or, go big and silly. Decorate their cubicle or desk with confetti, balloons, and a card to celebrate their milestone — whatever that may be. It’ll bring a smile to their face, and it serves as a reminder that they are appreciated.

12. Offer Help on a Project

If you see a colleague struggling with a project, offer to help out. Set clear boundaries, of course, by letting them know you’re there to assist and not take over. If you’ve had experience with a similar project, your insight and guidance will likely be appreciated.

13. Give a Genuine Compliment 

Think of the last time you received a nice compliment. It’s kind of like a hug for the brain. When you offer genuine compliments, it makes the other person feel appreciated, seen, and sometimes even loved. Simple phrases like, “I appreciate you and your hard work” or “You really excel at _____. ” can make all the difference in working relationships. 

Kindness Matters at Work and in Life 

In our often crazy world, it’s sometimes hard to see kindness. What if you could change that starting in your own workplace?

As an interpersonal skill, kindness teaches us to be generous, warm, and selfless. By offering thoughtful gestures, it connects people in ways that can’t be achieved any other way.

Kindness matters just as much in workplace relationships as it does in personal ones. Plus, it makes you happier and healthier overall by reducing stress effects and boosting immunity.

Plus, it’s contagious. In a good way.

Consider doing a kindness challenge in your workplace. It can be simple — smiling at everyone, opening the door for strangers, etc. for at least a week.

Have employees report back (in meetings or even on social media) on how being kinder is changing their lives. It’ll inspire transformations to create a positive, altruistic work culture in ways only kindness can.

How do you spread kindness in your workplace? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

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