Random acts of kindness

kindnessThere is a very efficient tram system in Amsterdam where I live. The trams are clean, speedy and run on time. The other day I was slow to get up and ended up as the last one to get off the tram. There is a chip card system to get on and off the tram and I fumbled my card, so that the doors shut before I could get off. Just I was envisioning myself being carried way off down the road past my stop, the doors slid open and I could disembark. As I was getting down I realized that a man sitting in the seat by the door had noticed my predicament and simply pressed the button to re-open the doors—such a small act but it saved me so much hassle. Luckily I was able to catch his eye and give him a wave but he hadn’t been looking for thanks—he just wanted to help.

This small act of kindness sent me on my way with a light heart and an upbeat feeling. It lifted my whole day and when I remember it now I want to smile.

Research is showing that kindness is not only good for the person who receives it but for the person who offers it and even for people who may have nothing to do with either party but simply see kindness being done! In all cases people report feeling happier and more well in themselves. Kindness has a positive contagious effect.

This seems to be important news for the workplace where it is so easy to feel a bit pressured, or to have tensions between people. Imagine if everyone went into work with the goal of trying to perform a few random acts of kindness in the day—it could change the whole atmosphere of the working environment.

What sort of things could these random acts of kindness be?

Here’s a few ideas to think about.

  • When you make a drink for yourself, offer one to someone else as well
  • Bring in cakes to share
  • Bring flowers to decorate the workspace
  • Remember to greet your colleagues on arrival and smile at them from time to time during the day
  • Cover for a colleague who needs to arrive late, or leave early
  • Make time to listen to a colleague who has news to share
  • Do the washing up
  • Invite someone to eat lunch with you

Please post any thoughts you’ve had yourself—we’d love to hear from you.

We have a natural capacity for kindness but it is so easy in the rough and tumble of the working day for it to get buried under stress and hurry. It is worth taking the time to consciously remember to be kind and help it become a habit that spreads throughout your workplace. Remember—everyone will benefit.

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