The passed months have seen such an enormous effort by so many, from small acts of kindness such as helping shielding neighbours with shopping, to heroic acts from all our key workers, keeping us safe and helping us stay at home.
In recent years there has been a healthy dialogue on mental health awareness, to the point that this whole week is dedicated to it, with emphasis on a celebration of acts of kindness.
There is scientific research to support that people who are kind and compassionate reap the rewards with benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. Kindness helps develop a sense of community, strengthens relationships, and brings people together. All of these are good for mental health.
If most employees were asked what would be key words to describe how they wish to be treated in the work place it is likely that words such as “ professional”, “ respect” and “ valued” would be used. It is unlikely that kindness would be in the top ten, however kindness can transform workplaces, as acts of kindness increase-self-esteem, improve confidence and optimism. And it works two ways, for both the provider of the kind act or words, and the beneficiary.
Our actions have a big impact on our own mental health, and of those around us. As we (normally) spend a large amount of time each day with our work colleagues it is them who can benefit from us being kind. Ultimately companies benefit from employees who are more confident and happier. The working environment is improved, which can have a positive impact on productivity and customer service.
Acts of kindness do not have to be grand gestures. It is the small deeds that can mean so much to someone else, whether it’s starting each day with a catch up call, just to say “ Hi, how are you doing?”, sending an emoji, GIF or Praise recognition on Teams, or messages via WhatsApp. Picking up the phone rather than emailing to share a story, or simply listening when a colleague is having a hard time and needs to talk.
As we all continue to trudge through this uncertain time let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and to each other. The Government concentrates on the R number for the infection rate and it being below 1.
Lets all try and increase our own kindness R number above 1 so that we are spreading kindness in every small act we do and improving our collective mental health.