2020. The first year of a new decade. It feels like we should be able to start again. To wipe the slate clean and look forward with bright eyes and hope in our hearts. So, let’s do it.
Let’s make 2020, the year where we think of others and not just ourselves. Where we are thoughtful, kind and generous. And let’s start with being kind at work.
Tips for being kind at work in 2020
Say good morning to everyone. From the moment you walk in the door until the moment the last person walks in the door – say good morning. And if you can’t say it, smile and acknowledge that person in some way (a quick wave, a thumbs up, a nod of the head). The simple act of wishing someone a good morning makes an enormous difference to their day. Because, in that very moment, someone is acknowledging their existence and wishing them well.
Thank people for doing a good job. We expect people to do a good job right? That’s what they are there for. And you might think it’s a waste of time thanking people for simply doing what they are paid to do, but it is never a waste of time saying thank you. You are acknowledging that they are contributing and that their contribution is genuinely appreciated. Seriously, if more people said thank you in the workplace, maybe there would be a whole lot less staff turnover. This is not just managers thanking staff either – if a colleague has done something that meant you can do your job faster or so you can meet a deadline, or they helped solve a problem or made a customer happy – tell them. Appreciation from peers is JUST as important as from management.
Stop the gossip. Don’t spread rumours, don’t engage in emails or IM’s where the purpose is to denigrate someone else in the office. It’s the equivalent of schoolyard bullying and it’s honestly heartbreaking for someone to realise that behind their back, colleagues have been saying things that may be completely untrue or nasty. It has always been appalling office behaviour, so let’s start 2020 with a big NO to gossip.
Help out. Don’t just look at someone drowning in work and feel smug that it’s not you OR shrug your shoulders and tell yourself it’s not your job to help them. If you want your workplace to be the best it can be, then make it the best it can be. Lift your colleagues up and help them to be successful too. Work shouldn’t be a place where people are pitted against each other like a crappy episode of Survivor. Work should be a place where you can trust your colleagues to have your back in times of need. So, stop watching that bloke in the corner miss every lunch break and staying until 7.00 pm every night because he’s under so much pressure. Ask what you can do to help.
Don’t react to other people’s bad days. I am going to be honest; this is a big one for me. I have, in the past SO overreacted when someone else has been short or rude to me. But getting nasty back at them doesn’t help you or them. Remember, just like that person has no idea that you have crap going on in your life right now, you have no idea what journey they are on. So instead of arcing up at them – be calm, be patient and be respectful. You will be keeping your own stress levels down, AND you won’t be contributing to their stress either.
Don’t let online behaviour become offline behaviour. Let’s be honest, the internet is filled with people behaving badly. All those social norms have gone out the window and people say things that you would hope they would never say to someone’s face. We either become desensitised to the horrific things people say or, if you are like me, a bit traumatised by them. If you find that your tolerance for other people’s opinions is getting shorter and shorter – step away from the internet for a while. Because you don’t want your intolerance to people’s differences to affect your work life.
We need more tolerance in this world, not less. We definitely need more tolerance in the workplace!
Being kind, generous and tolerant is not a sign of weakness. For sure the workplace psychopath is going to walk all over you, but they were going to do that anyway – they’re a psychopath. But if you show kindness, you will receive it. If you are generous and patient, you will be respected and valued. If you are tolerant of others’ opinions, you will be listened to when you speak. Your positive attitude and support will make you the MVP in your workplace in 2020.