Over the past few years the annual calendar has been populated with many ‘National’ days of celebrations – but one that has a resounding effect to everyone, everywhere is the National Random Acts of Kindness Day (NRAKD). This year NRAKD will be celebrated on February 17 and it is a reminder that kindness can have a positive effect to everyone. The most fulfilling part about practicing kindness is that it doesn’t have to cost you a thing but can make a difference in turning around someone’s day.
The National Random Acts of Kindness Foundation emphasizes that kindness can be applied to many values such as courage, caring, integrity, inclusiveness, respect and responsibility. At Ricoh, the values of ‘Love your neighbor; Love your work and Love your country’ promotes and supports the ethos of kindness through our company culture.
The scientific benefits1 behind acts of kindness include an increase in energy, happiness, lifespan, pleasure, serotonin and the love hormone! Likewise, being kind can also decrease pain, stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure. This is a testament that practicing kindness daily should be done without thought or consideration. So how can we incorporate the practice of kindness within our daily lives?
Since the majority of our time is spent working, it is easy to get caught up with high work priorities– to a point where we lose sight of kindness within the workplace.
All organizations can create a positive workplace culture by instilling the value and positive effects of kind gestures. Here are 10 random acts of kindness that can be practiced within the workplace so that everyone feels valued:
1) Be a Friend
It’s natural to form friendships with your peers that can extend beyond the walls of the office. Now more than ever, the importance of mental health is having a far-reaching awareness within the workplace. Having a friend at work provides the opportunity to spot the signs of mental illness and to take action so that your friends at work don’t feel isolated.
Having a morning coffee break or going for lunch with your co-workers is a great opportunity to extend your friendship so that you can provide support, advice and generally be there for them if they are encountering challenging times.
2) Be on Time
This maybe an obvious one but respecting one another’s time at work can make a huge difference. Being late for meetings can impact the schedules of others – especially if they have a particularly challenging schedule that day.
If you are running late for a meeting, be mindful that others are waiting for you. Consider giving your peers a head’s up that you will be attending the meeting a few minutes late or rescheduling the meeting entirely.
3) Appreciate your work environment (and those that maintain it)
The office is a shared environment designed with the needs of employees in mind. It’s a place where all employees should feel comfortable and productive throughout the day.
Have you ever stopped to appreciate the efforts of those individuals in your Facilities department whose focus is to ensure that your workplace environment is clean, bright and welcoming?
It doesn’t cost much to wipe the coffee you spilt on the meeting room table; reload the photocopier with paper or place your used cup into the dishwasher. When you think about the efforts you take to maintain your home, why shouldn’t this extend to your office? By doing so, you’re helping make the lives of others in your workplace a little bit easier.
4) Share knowledge
Everyone has a role to play towards the success of your team, department and the organization at large. And with that, every individual brings a unique set of skills, knowledge and expertise that can benefit everyone if it is shared.
The benefits of working collectively as a team is that it provides the opportunity to share knowledge or methodologies that may work for you as an individual – which can also benefit the team as one. Have you ever shared with your team certain processes, platforms or resources that are useful to you?
Sharing knowledge amongst your peers can also provide added value on a collective front.
5) Recognize your peers
Whether it be the completion of a project or more long-term accolades, your successes within your professional life would have been achieved through the contributions and support of your peers.
Practicing gratitude for your peers towards is an important act of kindness. At Ricoh, the ‘Be the Change’ program encourages employees to recognize the efforts of one another by nominating and assigning them points (which they can redeem to purchase items of their choice). The program acts as an informal platform to give kudos to one another within the workplace.
6) Embrace diversity
Every organization represents a melting pot of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. This is reflected through the beliefs and values of every single employee as they execute ideas that move the organization forward.
At Ricoh, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is promoted through the support of a dedicated D&I committee. However, it goes hand in hand with Ricoh’s workplace culture where an appreciation for everyone’s backgrounds has created a place of acceptance.
Embracing diversity can be practiced through simple acts such as acknowledging religious holidays, participating in cultural potlucks or even just supporting organizations meaningful to your peers.
7) Celebrate personal achievements
Respect for your co-workers can also extend to celebrating the things within their personal lives that are important to them. It’s all too easy to forget that everyone has a life outside of work but sharing and celebrating their personal accomplishments can have a resounding effect in them feeling respected, valued and included.
Ricoh celebrated Chan Yerneni, Enterprise Workflow Solutions Portfolio Manager becoming a Canadian citizen on Social Media.
8) Pay a compliment
In the words of Joyce Meyer, “It’s very inexpensive to give a compliment”, have you ever thought about the last time you complimented a co-worker? Communicating kind words to a co-worker can change their day in an instant – especially if they are encountering a difficult or challenging day at work.
9) Bring someone a morning coffee or tea
If you are aware of a co-worker or team’s upcoming busy day, consider bringing them a morning coffee or tea to start their day off on a positive note.
This small act of kindness acknowledges the efforts they put in yet also conveys how appreciated they are.
And finally – don’t forget to smile! It doesn’t cost you anything to exchange a smile with your peers whether its greeting them first thing in the morning to exchanging a smile across the floor.
Smiling is a powerful gesture that can generate positive emotions amongst one another. Remember to turn the corners of your mouth upwards once in a while – it can make someone feel better about themselves and create a happier workplace overall.
While practicing kindness and acts of kindness should be second nature to everyone, kindness in the workplace is something that can be easily forgotten or overlooked. Remember to refer to your organization’s corporate values – you’ll realize that kindness aligns to all of them.
As we conclude this article, take a minute to look up from your screen and share a compliment or a smile with your co-worker sitting opposite you. That wasn’t so hard was it?
Extend your kindness. Be a RicohChangeMaker.