On World Kindness Day, Consultant Joshua Silver creates a case for kindness in the workplace , describing how the supportive culture that we foster at DMW creates a long-lasting ripple effect on productivity levels and increased mood.
Research suggests that kindness is an intuitive reaction and that it is thinking that leads to us prioritising ourselves. In a study where 51 winners of the Carnegie Hero Medal were interviewed, there was an underlying theme that these heroes risked their lives without a second thought. In that moment, they prioritised kindness and others over themselves.
Our mind may intuitively know that being kind to others will benefit us in the long run but there is so much information to suggest otherwise. We can now manage our finances, learn new skills and set up entire businesses without ever needing to rely upon anyone. Gone are the days that we need to have our own financial advisor, pay for an in-person tutor or hire someone to help set up your business; you can do it all on your own.
In a way, we are not to blame for not always being as kind as we would like to be; it is simply that society is set up to allow us to think about ourselves. But that’s where the excuses end! When we are aware of these limitations we can seize today as an opportunity to make changes to be kinder.
Practicing kindness to your colleagues during lockdown
I like to believe that we all have kindness within us. We will see opportunities every day to be kind, but we are not great at then acting upon that emotion. Here are the habits I have worked into my daily life:
1) Be quick to compliment – I am always the first person to say I love someone’s haircut or top. Your positive emotions can help improve their mood.
2) Take a minute after and not before a meeting to listen – We can be very busy people but try to be the person who hangs around a minute longer to just ask how someone is doing. Asking after a meeting, gym class or online activity rather than before can take away the feeling that it is filler conversation.
3) Make a mental note of things people are looking forward to – This one is hard with the number of people we interact with. But if you can remember one activity that someone is looking forward to and ask how it went in your next interaction it can show you care.
This year has been one of the most challenging yet to be kind. We have taken all the factors above and then thrown in the fact that a lot of us have been working from home now since March. It’s been in this time that I have noticed the effort DMW has put into the wellbeing of its staff.
Our culture of kindness
Here are some of the kind things they have done that I have appreciated over the past 8 months:
1) Wellness boxes – Each employee has been sent multiple tailored boxes with small gifts to help with stress and mood. A personal highlight must be the Cactus I still have on my desk!
2) Pulse surveys – Weekly check-ins to make sure the company is not just ok but excelling in the home working environment, with the opportunity to chat to both people privately inside and outside the company if you are struggling with anything.
3) Hardware budget – An allowance to help create our home setups. Given the length of this period I’ve been very grateful for my desk and chair
4) Virtual strategy day – A huge effort made to make our virtual strategy day as exciting as possible with multiple online activities and a magician for the family.
5) Additional holiday for childcare when schools initially closed – We know this can be one of the most challenging aspects of home working for many, so this was a really nice touch.
But the underlying theme with all these acts is that they were above and beyond what I had come to expect from companies I had worked at in the past. That genuine sense that the leadership cares how you are really does make a difference to your daily mood.
I want to leave you a final thought; a quote from Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So be kind!