The Importance of Kindness and Compassion at Work
It’s only natural to, at some point, associate work with feelings of stress.
Job security and pressure to perform can creep into our minds daily. Major changes to workflow and our job descriptions can strike up feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Rocky relationships with superiors, subordinates or colleagues may keep us up at night from time to time.
For these reasons and more, kindness should be emphasized at work. Every company should strive to foster an environment ripe with company-wide norms of kindness, as happy, upbeat employees typically make for a motivated and productive organization.
Spreading kindness virtually
The COVID-19 pandemic is approaching the two-year mark and a lot of companies are still working remotely. As a result, opportunities for offhand encouragement, “job well-done” and face-to-face bonding are greatly decreased when staffs only see each other in a virtual setting only, for a few hours a week.
Offset those lost moments by scheduling “check-in” or “coffee hour” virtual meetings in which business isn’t necessarily the priority topic. Set aside occasional small blocks of time to complement employees on their recent work. Find out how they are doing personally, strike up conversation about light current affairs, and share recipe ideas. Sprinkling a laxed setting into a week full of planning meetings can be beneficial to everyone.
Break up the monotony even further by organizing online team-building activities when appropriate. Virtual quizzes, “name the 50 states” competitions and “whodunit” mystery games can promote communication and collaboration among your staff. Icebreaker games in which employees share facts about each other can help recently hired team members get to know everyone else.
Schedule these every so often on Friday, in place of the last couple hours of work, to send everyone into the weekend on a fun note. Team-building events like these could help quash feelings of competition among employees.
Little acts go a long way
Surprise morning donuts and lunchtime pizza have gone by the wayside during the pandemic, but these gestures can be recreated. Do you have a big quarterly conference coming up? Consider sending employees care packs of coffee or donuts ahead of it.
Sending complimentary emails every so often can serve as confidence boosters. For some employees, simply seeing an email sent by their boss can make them tense up. Sending genuine praise and encouragement, when deserved, can help humanize employers to their staff, particularly to employees who seem intimidated.
Demonstrating compassionate leadership could go a long way in building trust and increasing employee retention. That compassion should always be authentic.
If COVID-19 has hit the family of one of your employees hard, or they are visibly struggling mentally, offer paid leave and mental health sick days. If you notice an employee has an overloaded day or week ahead of them, delegate tasks to another employee with a lighter workload.
Simply listening is crucial, as well. Taking time out of your day to lend an open ear to a frustrated or confused employee can chip away at their stress levels. Even if a concrete solution doesn’t result from these conversations, letting them know your door is always open is another trust-building trait.
Remember, these same sentiments should be ingrained into the fabric of any team leaders your company may have. Kindness in the workplace starts from the top down.
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