Random Acts of Kindness Week is here, and we’ve got your seven-day guide to celebrating workplace kindness all week!
Why focus on workplace kindness?
Because every kindness operates to the power of three.
“Every act improves the lives of at least three people,” according to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
The benefits of being kind — which include an increased sense of belonging, better health and lasting happiness — apply to the giver, to the recipient and to anyone who happens to witness the act of kindness!
An act of kindness can have an impact on even more lives when it’s shared on social media — suddenly, the number of people bearing witness to the kindness multiplies with each retweet or Facebook “Like.”
That’s one reason the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation encourages participants to share stories of kind acts all week on social media with the hashtags #RAKWeek and #RAKtivist. Get connected on the RAK Foundation’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
We need kindness everywhere in our lives, but in the workplace may be where it’s needed most right now. Employee engagement statistics remain dismally low. According to Gallup’s latest monthly engagement survey for January, fewer than a third of American workers are engaged — a percentage that hasn’t budged much in years.
What do these numbers look like in reality? A majority of employees who aren’t invested in their work, don’t feel appreciated, aren’t connected with company goals and may even be actively searching for another job.
That’s where workplace kindness and #RAKWeek come in. Not only is sharing kindness economical and often absolutely free, it directly affects our ability to perform our best work and collaborate productively. Kindness has a powerful influence on group dynamics, time management and sustainable employee happiness.
Read on for daily workplace kindness ideas for a successful #RAKWeek celebration!
7 Days of Workplace Kindness
Day 1: Make Your Lists of 3
Individually or as a group brainstorming activity, set kindness intentions for the week. Make it a daily goal to commit a small act of random workplace kindness to three people — yourself, someone you know and someone you don’t know. (Yes, self-kindness counts! Being kind to ourselves is often the first step to treating others with kindness.) Your daily goals for workplace kindness could look like this:
- For Yourself: Listen to a 5-minute guided meditation to center at the beginning of the workday
- For Someone You Know: Offer to run a quick errand for a coworker over lunch
- For Someone You Don’t Know: Leave a Thank You note and cookies for the night-time cleaning staff
Spark your brainstorming with Buzzfeed’s “101 Easy Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness.”
Day 2: Walk-Around Appreciation
Ask managers, shift leads and any other supervisors to walk around the workplace and praise employees on the spot for small accomplishments. In particular, encourage participation among managers who typically spend their days off-site or running from meeting to meeting. Face-to-face employee appreciation builds trust and lasting relationships, so make sure all managers get time in their schedules to make it happen!
Day 3: Eat Lunch Together
Invite your team to eat a meal together — no shop talk allowed! Brown-bag it, order in pizzas or take everyone out to a restaurant. The most important thing is that you’re creating a space for everyone to interact in a new way.
“Food has this incredible way of bridging any gaps, softening any hard feelings and feeding our souls while nourishing our bodies,” writes Alka Dhillon, quoting her late father, a restaurateur, in her NBCU Season of Kindness essay “How to cultivate kindness (and courage!) at work.”
Day 4: Start a Meeting with Kindness
Instead of plowing right into the agenda, go around at the top a meeting this week and have your team share a story of a random kindness they gave or received. It’ll set a tone of gratitude and connect your team on a deeper level — both prerequisites for better collaboration!
Day 5: Volunteer Together
A group volunteer trip gets everyone in the mood to give back. That isn’t just a turn of phrase: kindness literally changes our mood by releasing the feel-good hormone oxytocin into our brains. As New York Times science writer Natalie Angier explains, oxytocin is also instrumental to our capacity to feel trust and empathy, “the twin emotional pillars of civilized life.”
Day 6: Surprise Gifts for Everyone!
Part of the delight in random acts of kindness is their element of surprise. We may not remember the details of a big recognition dinner years later, but an unexpected compliment, surprise gift or other random kindness often leaves a vivid, lasting impression. That’s why experts recommend sharing surprise employee recognition.
Day 7: Throw A Gratitude Party
Celebrate a week’s worth of intentional workplace kindness with a party for everyone! Serve frosted cupcakes, punch, fruit salad and other brightly colored foods to brighten up a blah February day. Set up a “gratitude board” where employees can give public thanks to coworkers for kindnesses shared during the past week. Hand out gift cards for employees to give each other as special “thanks” – for help on a project, for great mentoring, for covering for a personal commitment or for always making you laugh. Keep the good mood flowing by hosting a slate of gratitude party games, like Gratitude Pictionary!
Looking for more workplace kindness inspiration for Random Acts of Kindness Week? TODAY and NBC News have a special “Season of Kindness” section devoted to stories of kindness from around the country.
Let us know how you celebrate workplace kindness in your organization this week! Whatever you choose to do, involve others and have fun sharing your gratitude!
Click the image below to download gThankYou’s FREE Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for tips on how to plan daily recognition and organize regular celebrations throughout the year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you to build an everyday culture of appreciation with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime!
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