Random Acts of Kindness Week is sneaking up on us in a few days: Feb. 9 to 15. RAK Week celebrates the joy of giving and receiving kindness at random with friends, coworkers, neighbors and strangers alike.
It’s an opportunity “to step out of your normal routine or comfort zone and attempt a new random act of kindness each day of the celebratory week,” according the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which promotes the annual event.
Random Acts of Kindness Week is a great opportunity to encourage employees to be mindful of the everyday importance of workplace kindness.
Research shows that kindness can be learned, and the best way to learn it is hands-on. RAK Week is participatory, easy and fun!
Plus, because we’re focused next week on random acts of kindness, how you and your coworkers celebrate is wide open for creativity. The best part of RAK Week is that everyone can participate how they want, whether it’s volunteering together for a good cause or brightening a coworker’s day.
Read on for real-life examples of how powerful random acts of kindness are and why incorporating Random Acts of Kindness Week into your employee engagement plan makes good business sense.
1. Kindness Is Always A Pleasant Surprise
Think about how many unpleasant surprises we all deal with on a daily basis. Even the minor annoyances, like a traffic jam or spilling coffee down a freshly dry-cleaned white shirt at 8 a.m., can derail an otherwise fine day.
A random act of kindness puts a bad day back on track and makes good days great! HuffPo blogger Sharon Greenthal recently shared her story, “A Random Act of Kindness My Family Will Never Forget.” While traveling over the holidays, she and her husband and their two kids got stuck in a long line at a tollbooth. The man in the car behind them got angry at them for cutting him off, so he made faces and yelled at them from behind the wheel.
“Let’s pay his toll,” Greenthal’s son said. They did, and what happened next changed their day — and the angry driver’s day, too.
“It felt so good to do exactly the right thing — to make amends for having nosed our way in front of the other driver, but also to show him forgiveness and kindness when he probably least expected it,” Greenthal writes.
“Sure enough, a few minutes later he pulled up in his expensive car next to our inexpensive rental, looked over at us, smiled and gave us a thumbs up. He got it,” she writes.
2. Kindness brings people together
Random acts of kindness bring people closer, especially in times of tragedy.
Friends and family of two Illinois girls killed in a Jan. 10 traffic accident, Abby Liefer and Hannah Porter, are asking people around the country to perform random acts of kindness in the girls’ memory next Tuesday, Feb. 10. A Facebook event page set up for the day already has more than 7,000 participants.
The community support is helping those close to the girls grieve and heal.
“Abby would be so happy that people are helping other people,” her sister said.
Hannah’s aunt said, “It helps heal a little bit. It helps bring that joy to you and helps you feel that at least some good came out of this.”
3. Kindness Develops Self-Confidence
When you volunteer to do something you love in the service of others, it just feels plain good. Self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment are the side-benefits of helping others.
Even pesky chores like snow-shoveling count. In gThankYou’s hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, a local newspaper reporter recently wrote about how “Snow Removal Acts of Kindness Bring Madisonians Together.” Younger residents help out older neighbors by volunteering to shovel their snow, and some are especially proud of the work they do. One resident, Jason Tish, said:
“I have some strong feelings about snow maintenance. I grew up in Minnesota, where it’s an art.”
What tasks, even menial ones, are you especially good at? What about professional skills? Does your workplace team specialize in computer repair or tax law or building maintenance? When you share your skills with those in need, you make others happy and give yourself a boost of well-deserved pride.
4. Kindness Is Good for Business
Strong communities grow thriving businesses, so companies succeed when they build their business with community engagement and kindness.
Take as an example the Canadian pharmacy TLC Pharmasave, recently profiled in a local newspaper: “Random Acts of Kindness Make Good Business Sense at TLC Pharmasave.”
The pharmacy recently opened a second location after finding business success by following a “random acts of kindness” business strategy. Staff deliver medications to homebound patients and offer after-hours and “curb-side” counseling. The pharmacy has also donated personal care items and medication replacements to victims of fires and floods.
Recently the pharmacy manager handed out Visa gift cards to each staff member and asked them to distribute the cards at random in the community, to raise the spirit of giving. She told the newspaper:
“I heard some amazing stories from our staff, from buying gas for a stranger to purchasing toys for kids; buying someone’s prescription medications and buying someone’s groceries at the checkout line. It warmed everyone’s hearts.”
5. Kindness Has A Snowball Effect
When you’re kind to someone, that kindness has a way of paying itself forward and spreading.
Kindness is contagious, according to a 2010 study by researchers at Harvard and the University of California at San Diego.
The scientists concluded: “When people benefit from kindness they ‘pay it forward’ by helping others who were not originally involved, and this creates a cascade of cooperation that influences dozens more in a social network.”
Looking to spark your own “cascade of cooperation”? Get a head start to Random Acts of Kindness Week this Saturday, Feb. 7, for Send a Card to a Friend Day. Surprise a friend or coworker with a handwritten note. They’ll appreciate the nice break from overflowing email inboxes and social media notifications to read a thoughtful piece of handwritten communication.
All next week come back to this blog, Celebrating Work, for more inspiration, news and ideas related to Random Acts of Kindness Week!
Celebrations like Random Acts of Kindness Week are an important part of building workplace gratitude. For a comprehensive guide to growing a sustained workplace culture of happiness and appreciation, download our FREE eBook: Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.
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