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Why does kindness matter at work?

What do we mean by kindness? 

Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others or yourself, motivated by genuine warm feelings. Being kind is an innate ability we all share it requires us to let our defenses down, and to show our vulnerability in a world where performance, efficiency and competition are more highly valued.

Studies carried out on how acts of kindness and compassion can affect a workplace have found that these types of behaviours positively improve overall workplace cultures.

Do you know that kindness can reduce your stress levels? Doing nice things for others boosts your serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being, also helping others allows you to step outside of yourself and take a break from the stressors in your own life, and this behaviour can also make you better equipped to handle stressful situations.

Another physical benefit of kindness is that it can help to lower anxiety which is good for your heart: according to Dr. David Hamilton, “oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure).”

Researchers have noted that acts of kindness in the workplace have a significant impact on overall positivity throughout the working environment and employees’ well-being for the receivers, and the givers.

We have all been through a very difficult time and specially now a commitment to be kind can bring many important benefits: happier workforce, increased productivity, better communications for instance.

Whether we continue to work intermittently from home or begin to think about our slow return to the office environment, how can we meet this goal?

  • Start with being an example: kindness is contagious

  • Build a habit of gratitude: remember to say thank you if someone has helped you or made your life easier in some way or another.

  • Remote working brings its own set of difficulties: offer to support colleagues who may not be familiar with videoconferencing or new software that you have already used 

  • It is hard to join a new workplace under these restrictions: get to know a new member of your team

  • This can then grow into becoming a routine or habit amongst the workplace, building bonding and connectivity, and creating an ever-increasing positive workplace culture.

Don’t forget that is important to be kind to yourself as well: prioritize some “me” time, so you can relax and reflect on how you’re feeling and how your day or week has been so far, give yourself recognitions a hug. Don’t be shy about offering yourself a warm hug or pat on your arm when you need it the most.

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