If you’ve picked up a newspaper or seen the news recently, it seems to be all doom and gloom in the headlines, some even going as far as “naming and shaming” particular employers which has created a workplace minefield. We’ve seen cases of bullying, racism, homophobia and sexual harassment, and whilst none of this is new, we live in a time where people are starting to speak more openly about these really important topics. The question for employers and employees alike – what can, and what should we do about it?
As humans, we always have a choice on how we act and respond to events that go on around us, it is our actions that make a huge impact. When I created HR acts of kindness in 2016, my aim was to create kinder workplaces and inspire others to create their own versions of kindness to spread within their workplaces as well as the wider community.
Far too often I hear of stories where many people are becoming victims of an innovation culture which appears to be continuously blurring the lines between the workplace and personal lives, leading to increased stress and lower productivity levels. With company emails easily accessible from the palm of our hands, it seems that the ability to switch off is becoming more and more difficult. Therefore by attempting to create a kinder workplace culture, one suggestion could be to work more efficiently within your existing working hours instead of working long hours to compensate for a lack of productivity during the working day.
A kinder workplace means having an increased focus upon overall workplace wellbeing, this can be achieved by treating the mental and physical wellbeing of employees and including it as a part of the organisational strategy, this forms a key part of productivity and sustainability. This can be underpinned with various policies to support or enforce a more positive culture, but it outlines the expectations of the employees but is relative to the values that sit at the heart of the organisation.
To be clear, there is no place for bullying, racism, homophobia and sexual harassment within our modern workplaces, kindness is a tool that can be used to combat such cultures. There is power in numbers and we are able to positively influence through negative press by practicing kindness regularly to create an create an innovative and sustainable culture that will make the workplace a much brighter space for everyone to work in.