The Kind Office; Be Kind Magazine feature

Frequently, kindness is often considered a sign of weakness especially in the serious business world. As professional people we don’t want to show weakness, especially when competition for promotional opportunities or desire to climb the career ladder is so great and kindness is always seen as a “fluffy” subject and can appear to affect our chances of being successful. Everyone knows you can’t be a successful professional in business by being a doormat, fortunately though, practicing kindness at work has absolutely nothing to do with being a doormat and everything to do with showing great courage and strength.

Thousands of pounds are spent each year on self-help books on a range of subjects from making us healthier, being more popular, even becoming wealthy, but not many people rush out to purchase a book on how we can be kinder. From a very young age, my great grandmother always said that kindness was one of the best gifts that people can give, and in a world filled with enough negativity to last a lifetime, why not change our own perspectives and just be kinder?

Kindness is the key component to a healthy, successful, and well-balanced life. These elements are all essential to our overall wellbeing and kindness is something that we do because we can, not because we should or are obligated to.

HR acts of kindness

Having worked with all walks of life as an HR professional, I have always recognised that there are extraordinary benefits of kindness at work and one theme that has always shone through is how people respond to kindness, so in 2016 (after the Brexit result) I decided that my mission was to encourage kindness in the workplace, where people would feel welcome, valued and supported.

Creating kindness cultures

Being kind isn’t a new thing, but it is too often overlooked when in fact it can be one of the most powerful tools that we each possess, so by encouraging kindness, it can become an everyday norm which can positively impact all areas of our lives including our workplaces which is not often associated with kindness. So why and how can kindness impact upon a person’s happiness at work? Kindness can promote and create a sense of gratitude, compassion and empathy as we are more in tune to those around us. At work, especially those in Management and Senior Managerial positions, being able to fully understand our people in these areas is essential to ensuring that employees are healthy, motivated and engaged.

The key to success

When we think of successful people; kindness isn’t normally the first word that we typically associate with them, for example, look at television shows such as The Apprentice and The Good Wife, you will notice that there aren’t many characters with kind personalities that get ahead! However, in the real business world, kindness is a tool that can improve job performance, keep our good employees, reduce absence and most of all, make our workplaces a happier place to be!

Practicing kindness in business

Being a serious business professional doesn’t mean that you are unable to practice kindness at work, there are ways in which you can be assertively kind. One of the biggest benefits of kindness, is that it builds trust with those we work with and that helps the development of meaningful and lasting relationships. Business professionals that get ahead in their careers by highlighting the flaws in others don’t tend to last because their employees and colleagues are not as engaged. In toxic workplace cultures where negative behaviours are the everyday norm, this is an environment full of distrust, and as a result those employees are unlikely to be motivated or perform to the best of their abilities. It is important to remember that building trust takes a long time, but it only takes a moment to destroy it.

Kindness is Contagious

Once I had started practicing kindness regularly, it didn’t take long to see that kindness is very contagious! It is important to keep in mind that we are not being kind in the hope that it will change people, we are being kind because that is who we are.

I bought a coffee for a homeless person on my lunchbreak during the cold snap earlier this year and noticed that others were watching what I was doing, and a little girl then offered him one of her sweets, as children we are always told to be kind to others, so why as adults does it seem so difficult to make time to be kind to others? When other people witness acts of kindness happening, it is almost like a magic we don’t see every day, yet it is all something that we can do that costs very little. It encourages those around us to give an act of kindness of their own which provides them with a sense of well-being.

Stay away negativity!

Save your energy! By investing time in negative cultures or situations, this only becomes an energy sapping vicious circle. Negativity only creates more negativity in our lives that makes us unhappy. By not giving your valuable time to negativity, you are able to spend more time being kind and creating joy. At work, wouldn’t you rather promote someone who is positive and motivated or someone who is negative and disengaged?

How to be intentionally kind

We often feel that one small action may not make a big difference and this is especially the case at work, but once you start making kindness a part of your everyday routine you’ll quickly see the impact it has on you and others around you and understand that an act of kindness, no matter how small can have profound effect. It is obvious that our society struggles with selfishness and indifference and it is easy to get sucked into that. True success and happiness begins with us recognising that we can positively respond to every situation with kindness to promote the environment that we wish to be a part of.

Simple acts of kindness that we can achieve at work are:

  • Make a tea or coffee for a colleague who may not have had a chance to get away from their desk
  • Actively listen and offer support when you can
  • Acknowledge colleagues’ contributions
  • Hold open the door and thank someone when they do the same for you
  • Take a break! Encourage colleagues to get away from their desk and take a proper break, this can make all the difference especially when it comes to productivity!

By bringing kindness into our workplaces, we can encourage a positive workplace culture for everyone to enjoy. As with HR acts of kindness, perhaps you may want to consider joining in or even starting your own kindness revolution at your workplace! All it takes is the courage to be kind.

15 thoughts on “The Kind Office; Be Kind Magazine feature

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog Nikki, so sorry to hear of your experience, sometimes unfortunately some HR people forget the human element! I hope you are much happier and in a much kinder workplace now

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  1. I worked for an NHS Trust shortly after leaving school. The Chairman would walk around the hospital and smile at everyone in the corridors. To those who didn’t smile back he would make a point of saying hello to fully gain their attention. He said that slowly everyone including consultants would smile or say hello to him first.

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  2. More people should be kind in work, I love being self employed because there have been so many mean people to work with. I always like to think that I am a nice person, sometimes too nice. I need to also do your tip of not getting involved in the negative. I work on the internet, that can be a mean workplace to if you get involved.

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    1. Hi Cassie, thank you for reading my blog! I agree with your comments wholeheartedly, workplaces can be toxic but everyone can certainly do their bit to make them kinder. Sorry to hear about your negative experiences, I hope you are much happier now

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  3. Thank you for bringing this subject up.
    I am very kind-natured, and I can not imagine deliberately hurting people with my actions or words. This, however, is often being misunderstood tremendously. Most people, obviously, take it as a sign of weakness, but on a few occasions men thought that I was actually chatting them up (I guess my flirting game is not great at all 😄).
    Thank you for spreading kindness!

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  4. It is so important to be kind. I always try to do a couple of kind things a day whether that is by letting someone go in front of me in a queue or helping someone with directions. I work for myself so don’t have an office and colleagues to do the things you suggest with but I certainly would if I did!

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  5. It’s so easy to be kind, isn’t it? It’s not as if you’re required to seriously go out of your way or sacrfice anything but a few seconds of your time. I havestarted to be more aware of the level of kindness I give off and I always stop to help people where I can – from helping them get their buggy over the train bridge, to picking up something they’ve dropped and handing it back to them. It’s such an important trait and yet it’s so often overlooked and not even thought about.

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