If we were to ask you about special days celebrated in February, most of you would probably say something about Valentine’s Day. But did you know that 17th February is the Random Act of Kindness Day? Well, you do now. And here is a quick read to get ready for it.
Of course, there is no need to explain what this day is all about- it’s in the name. But how did it all start? It’s interesting how a phrase in an article can lead to a movement, a foundation, a book and a day (or even a whole week) dedicated to random acts of kindness (RAK). The first known record of the phrase is an article by Anne Herbert published in CoEvolution Quarterly back in 1982. The Berkley activist and writer from the San Francisco Bay area wrote “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Acts of Senseless Beauty”. This phrase sparked a local movement and more than 10 years later, Anne Herbert teamed up with Margaret Pavel and released an illustrated book “Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty” with true stories of kindness.
The book was released in February 1993 and two years later, also in February, the first RAK day was observed and a foundation created. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a small nonprofit that invests resources into making kindness the norm, rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness. On their website you can find training materials, calendars and suggestions of how to make kindness the norm withing school, work and home environments.
And if you would like to join the movement, here are some ideas. It really doesn’t take much, but a small act can brighten and improve someone’s day, week or even their life.
Strating with your own- before you practice being kind to others in the office, we would like to take a minute to encourage you to be kind to yourself. Many of us tend to be our own worst critics. There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection, but when things don’t go to plan, remember to be more understanding. Treat yourself the way you would treat a loved one.
The next thing is even easier- smile. That’s right, sometimes all we need to feel a bit better is a stranger’s smile. Be that stranger. Or maybe there is someone in your office building that you recognise from frequent encounters in the corridor. Smile and start a conversation. Who knew something so simple can be construed as an act of kindness? Go one step further- compliment a colleague. It doesn’t cost anything to say something nice. And, again, it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. “You look nice today” is perfect- but mean it!
Complimenting a coworker in the office is one way of being nice. Another thing you can do, is to take a moment and show some kindness online. Like or share a post, write a positive, encouraging comment under a colleague’s post. Support a small local business by posting a positive review online. Maybe you buy a sandwich from a local deli and decide to write a kind word online. Or maybe the barista who made your coffee on the way to work did a great job and you can praise their customer service skills.
A truly random act of kindness is leaving a motivational post it for someone to read later. This will be anonymous, but you never know who and when might need a little pick me up note.
Coffee is another way of showing a good heart. This can be a pot of coffee for the office, a cuppa just the way your colleague likes it, or money left in the vending machine for the next person to enjoy a free cup. If you’re feeling generous, buy a round of coffee for everyone in the office. This surely will be very much appreciated. And what goes well with coffee is sweet treats- so why not buy a box of chocolates for everyone to share and put a smile or their faces.
Sometimes kindness means doing something that nobody else likes doing. Empty the canteen’s dishwasher, pick up rubbish without being prompted to. If you know your team well, you know if someone is not having a great day. They may have shared some of their struggles outside of work. If this is affecting their ability to be their normal productive self at work, you could offer to help with a task.
If you are feeling particularly generous this month and all these small acts of kindness aren’t quite enough- why not think outside the box and look at the bigger picture. Talk to your colleagues or boss and offer to arrange something bigger- this could be a fundraiser, getting the team together to volunteer at a local project or maybe you have your own idea which seems too difficult on your own, but getting your co-workers involved would ensure the right resources? The sky is the limit.
We hope that this article has inspired some of you to do at least one little thing we suggested. If you are still not convinced, here are some reasons why it is worth practicing kindness at work:
- A stronger team- lifting each other up at work leads to better working relationships, you will enjoy working together with people who are simply kind to each other. For no reason.
- Have you heard of Karma? Of course, you have! As they say, what goes around comes around. And isn’t it nice to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness?
- Better environment= better productivity. We tend to put more effort into our work when we enjoy being there and enjoy the company of those we work with (and for).
- Being kind to others will make you feel better about yourself. It’s just how it works, go on- try!
If you enjoyed this article, your random act of kindness for today could be sharing it on social media or leaving a positive review on Trustpilot. Thank you.