When we think of qualities for succeeding in the workplace, we often think of things like having initiative, being able to work within a team, or skills in working effectively to deadlines. However, what about personal qualities such as compassion or kindness?
Kindness is not a quality that is generally thought of as top of the required attribute list within the work environment, for either the employer or the employee. Workplaces can be competitive, cut-throat environments, side-lining softer qualities such as kindness and compassion. This can negatively impact the workplace in multiple ways including communications, teamwork and productivity.
Benefits of Kindness
Studies carried out on how acts of kindness and compassion can affect a workplace have found that these types of behaviours positively improve overall workplace cultures.
Researchers have noted that acts of kindness in the workplace generally do not go unnoticed and have a significant impact on overall positivity throughout the working environment and employees’ wellbeing.
Studies have showed that acts of kindness, however small and seemingly insignificant, act as buffers to stress and difficult working conditions. Employees also reported that they felt more confident and competent in their work where kindness was commonplace in their working community. What was also interesting is that acts of kindness increased the sense of happiness and wellbeing for not only the receivers, but also the givers.
Mental health leaders and campaigners are now paving the way to introduce ‘employee kindness’ as a key skill for individuals’, to improve productivity and ensure a happier workforce.
Research Findings on the Benefits of Kindness in the Workplace
- Happier workforce
- Increased productivity
- Improved team bonding
- Better communications
- Boost general health
- Better mental resilience
- Promotes and encourages ‘pro-social’ behaviour leading to a ripple effect of more of the same behaviour
- Employees feel supported and cared for
- Benefits ‘receiver’ and ‘giver’.
Let’s focus on Kindness
I think we can all agree that we have all been through a monumentally disruptive time over the last few months with all our lives being affected in a myriad of different ways. As we look to the future, whether we continue to work intermittently from home or begin to think about our slow return to the office environment, it’s a great time for us all to collectively focus on the power of kindness and compassion to help us in our work, going forward into these ever changing times.
Acts of kindness towards others should not be forced or ‘prescribed’ and is best employed when an opportunity presents itself naturally. Being aware of these natural opportunities is the first step to practising the ability to be kind to others, even in small ways.
Our ‘have it now’ society, aided by ever more sophisticated technology and social media apps, make it easy for us to rush to connect and respond. We want and receive information often without care or thought, and this encourages a lack of personal and considerate communication skills where kindness is often overlooked and seen as somewhat of an old-fashioned attribute. Making kindness a conscious choice in our working day will improve how we feel about ourselves and our lives.
As you will know, remote working brings its own set of difficulties. Using messenger apps or conference calls to ‘meet’ each other does not lend itself to nurturing kindness and compassion. It has been found that people are likely to be kinder and practice more kindness when they see and hear the other person, so making the effort to connect via video conferencing instead of just a phone call is definitely a step in the right direction.
- Ask colleagues you are connecting with ‘How are you?’ , ‘How’s things?’.
- Acknowledge any kindness or thoughtfulness.
- Remember to say thank you if someone has helped you or made your life easier in some way or another.
- Smile (on video).
- Remember your colleague’s birthdays.
- Praise your colleagues.
- Offer to help a colleague with their workload if they are under pressure.
- Create a group chat and send funny video’s or quotes.
- Start a lunchtime book club or podcast chat.
- Raise money for charity.
- ‘Meet up’ one day a week for half an hour to catchup and not talk about work.
- Offer support of someone is going through a difficult time – even if it is just giving them your time to listen.
Acts of generosity and kindness within a work environment seem to create a ripple effect of similar thoughtful behaviour, which propagates and spreads. Studies have shown that it can take just one person to start changing their behaviour at work to cause a positive ripple effect to begin, acting as a catalyst for this positive behaviour to spread. This can then grow into becoming a routine or habit amongst the workplace, building bonding and connectivity, and creating an ever-increasing positive workplace culture.
A change in thinking impacts behaviour and this in-turn influences and inspires others to change their own behaviour, and ability to be kind. As group thinking and behaviour changes, the organisation also changes, it improves and grows towards a more respectful, compassionate and kinder working world!
Lloyd’s Wellbeing Centre is open for in-person appointments
We are following a strict, new COVID-19 policy and have implemented procedures to safeguard our clients and our practitioners.
Please note – at the moment our services are only accessible to those that already hold a permanent building entry pass for the Lloyd’s building.