Today’s Work Assignment: Be Kind

Today, November 13, is World Kindness Day, an annual observation that celebrates good deeds and promotes acts of kindness by both individuals and organizations worldwide.

World Kindness Day first launched in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, over 28 countries have adopted this holiday and the mission it attempts to advance. Being kind comes in all different shapes and sizes, but acts of kindness all have the same goal—to make those on the receiving end feel important, seen and known. In the workplace, this matters now more than ever.

Since people spend over one-third of their lives at work, it’s important that they feel included and respected by their peers in that setting. In times of heightened political tension and raging cultural debates, it sometimes seems we are walking on eggshells in conversations, especially in the workplace. SHRM’s new culture report, The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture: How Culture Impacts the Workforce—and the Bottom Line, shows how employers can embrace and facilitate these discussions in a productive, inclusive way.

On this day, citizens of the world are challenged to commit at least one act of kindness. For you, this could look like grabbing your cubicle buddy a coffee on your way into the office. Or it could mean offering to go to lunch with someone you don’t get to work directly with every day. It could be as simple as putting a post-it note with a compliment on a co-worker’s desk.

Any act of kindness, no matter how small, is always well-received. When you do for others, not only do you feel good about bringing joy to someone, but the person on the receiving end of your act also feels important and included.

You might be in a spot at work where you are waiting for the culture to change for the better. The good news is, you don’t have to wait: World Kindness Day starts with you.

All it takes is one act by a single person that benefits someone else. No policy change or handbook restructuring required. This is how each individual can contribute to better workplaces and a better world.