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The power of kindness

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Alex Bigland company culture, diversity, team-spirited...

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and this year’s theme is kindness. In the cut and thrust of working life, kindness can sometimes be overlooked or confused with weakness but an overwhelming upside that has emerged from the Corona virus pandemic is the growing awareness of the power of kindness. Kindness is underpinning positive news stories, holding communities together and driving people to do amazing things.

Kindness is also fundamental to our mental and physical wellbeing. It stimulates the production of serotonin, which calms us and increases happiness, as well as producing oxytocin which is important for the reduction of blood pressure. An exercise that I do with my kids at the end of the day (at least whenever I remember) is to think of one kind thing they’ve done for another person and one kind thing someone’s done for them. It’s amazing how such a simple exercise can boost how you feel about yourself and it’s a good one to do, even if you’re alone, as a quick pick me up at the end of a challenging day.

So, with the benefits established, how do you keep showing kindness at work especially when we are all working remotely?

Saying ‘thank you’

Never underestimate the power of a thank you. Remember to let people know when they have done a good job as it will make them feel appreciated and boost their confidence. Particularly important now that we’re working remotely as people might not always think their efforts are noticed.

Supporting

Find ways to help your colleagues. It might be offering to help someone struggling with a deadline or simply taking the time to listen to someone’s worries over a (cyber) cup of coffee. As we’ve moved into a new reality, I’ve been impressed at the different ways we’ve found of supporting each other at Venquis from virtual coffee catch ups, virtual company runs to virtual quizzes and even a virtual talent show. All important means of checking in with each other and keeping the bonds in place.

Letting others lead

Don’t shoulder everything yourself. This can breed frustration and isn’t always best for the team around you. Take a step back and allow your colleagues to feel valued, step up and grow in confidence. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll grow stronger as a team.

Why does it matter?

Studies have shown that kindness in the workplace helps reduce staff absence and increases job satisfaction and productivity. So benefits all round, which surely makes it worth pausing and wondering what you could do that will make a difference for someone you work with today. To borrow from R.J. Palacio’s fantastic book Wonder: “Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed”. It costs nothing, but it might just make all the difference to someone who is having a tough day.