It’s the season of summer internships and entering new workplaces. This can be overwhelming and exciting, all at the same time. This summer, I moved to Atlanta to intern at a nonprofit. When I approached my new workplace, I consciously tried to think about how I could make a positive impact this summer.
Here are a few easy, but extremely impactful ways to bring kindness to your workplace, whether you’re starting a new internship or continuing your job.
- Meaningful Conversation: I understand that work can be busy and hectic. Often, it is difficult to make meaningful conversation. The most you speak to your coworkers is a quick “hello” in the mornings while you both grab your coffee. However, meaningful conversation goes a long way. Asking someone “How are you?” in a genuine way can mean a lot. Learning about your co-workers and their interests outside of work can make the workplace a more accepting and open environment. I challenge you to take 5-10 minutes a day to make meaningful conversation – it can completely change your work environment.
- Kind Notes: One of my bosses constantly left notes on my computer and desk with messages such as “You are doing great!” or “I hope you have a wonderful day.” Although this was a small and easy thing for her to do, it made me feel so much closer to her. When I was having a bad day, these kind notes put a smile on my face. Take time to leave a kind sticky note in a coworkers cubicle. Write someone a letter of gratitude. Your kind words may be exactly what they need to hear to get through the week!
- Smile: Although it sounds simple, smiling can make those around you feel more welcome and accepted. When you run into someone in the copy room or end up in the elevator together, make an effort to make eye contact and smile. This is a small way to help someone feel seen, heard, and accepted.
- Plan Activities That Promote Kindness: Are the holidays coming up? Organize a gift exchange! Is someone’s birthday soon? Coordinate a potluck. Is a holiday coming up? Create a themed activity! Activities that promote kindness create a culture of positivity in the workplace, making everyone feel more comfortable.
- Take Care of Yourself: Spreading kindness and compassion to others starts with showing these qualities to yourself. It is extremely difficult to be kind in the workplace when you’re not feeling OK yourself. Do what you need to take care of yourself: get enough sleep, take mental health days, take a moment to breathe. The workplace can be extremely hectic, and if you’re not kind to yourself during the high-stress moments, it’s difficult to be kind to others.
These are just five simple ways you can bring kindness to your workplace, but there are hundreds more! Remember: Every one of your actions will make a major impact in creating a positive and accepting work environment. So on your next day in the office, try it out!