Being kind in the workplace creates a ripple effect. It impacts the general level of positivity, boosts your mood and it’s contagious as the good feelings it promotes make people likely to ‘pay it forward’.
And given that we’re currently in Mental Health Awareness Week – and the theme is kindness – what better time to polish up on being compassionate to our colleagues? Plus, it’s officially good for your health!
How acts of kindness can affect your health
According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, carrying out acts of kindness can:
- Reduce blood pressure: Acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. This helps to lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
- Reduce pain: Kindness produces endorphins – the brain’s natural pain killer.
- Reduce isolation: It can encourage others to make human contact.
- Reduce anxiety: Kind actions can lift our mood because they stimulate the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!
- Reduce stress: Kind people have 23 percent less cortisol (known as the stress hormone).
Pre–Coronavirus the accepted wisdom was that the average worker spends up to 90,000 hours of their life with their work buddies. That figure hasn’t necessarily dropped but, with many working remotely, being kind at work isn’t perhaps as easy as it was. But it’s still just as important. So why not brighten up a colleague’s day and reap the benefits from doing so?
Ideas for being kind at work (whilst still observing social distancing!)
- Say ‘Thank you’ – and mean it!
- Has someone done a good job? Or perhaps they’ve done you a favour? Show your gratitude by saying it out loud at that weekly virtual meeting so everyone can hear. And why not put it in an email too so they can reread when they need a little positivity? You could even consider copying their boss in.
2. Give a compliment or two
A compliment can leave a lasting impressing on those on the receiving end and injects a little dose of ‘feel-good feelings’. And we could all do with that right now! Try to focus on personal qualities or workplace achievements rather than appearance or outfits though.
3. Actively listen to your colleague
Defined as giving your complete, intentional focus to what someone is saying, active listening can improve the rate of workplace performance and is key to strong workplace relationships and productivity. Colleagues feel respected by knowing they are being listened to. And right now, with lines between work and home rather blurred for many, it can mean a great deal if someone takes the time to properly hear a colleague’s home schooling, wifi sharing or lockdown woes!
4. Post the positivity
Inspirational quotes are a little like marmite – you either love them or hate them. And a little can go a very long way! But we’re all having to do things very differently at the moment and drawing on our personal resources more than ever. So, why not make a shared online space where your workmates can post quick reads and watches that they’ve found useful, inspiring or just amusing? Top Tips, the occasional Ted Talk and perhaps even a few of those inspirational quotes? We could all occasionally do with being able to dip into a well of positivity so why not start one for your team?