In many organizations, employees are encouraged to be aggressive and competitive in order to be successful and “get ahead” at work. It’s believed that having a competitive spirit makes employees more productive and engaged. In truth, however, research has indicated that kindness – and not competitiveness – is a much more essential quality. The best workplaces are those that encourage employees to look out for each other and help each other to succeed.

A recent study at the University of California looked at the effect that small acts of kindness can have on a group of coworkers. They enlisted 19 employees to each perform five acts of kindness over four weeks. They were mostly small gestures, like getting another employee a cup of coffee or recognizing something that a coworker had done by sending a thank-you email.

You might not think that this would have much of an impact. But researchers found that these small acts of kindness had far-reaching effects. All of the employees involved in the study felt a greater sense of camaraderie and well-being. Employees felt happier and more satisfied with their work. And those who had been on the receiving end of an act of kindness started acting kinder to the people around them. The kindness turned out to be contagious. And it resulted in the creation of a more effective, engaging, productive work environment.

So even if you’re feeling tired or frustrated at work, try not to take it out on your coworkers (even if they’ve contributed to your frustration!). Try to be kind to yourself and the people around you. You and your coworkers will all benefit from it.

Agarwal, P. (2019, August 26). Making kindness a priority in the workplace. Forbes. Retrieved from: