Random Act of Kindness

Every February 17th we celebrate small acts of random kindness.

Written by Mason Quah, Marketing Assistant

Random Acts of Kindness Day, founded by the ROAK foundation began as a celebration of the human spirit, in Denver Colorado, before slowly spreading across the United States and into other countries.

On top of encouraging positivity, it can also be a powerful tool for motivation in your office. Researchers at the University of Warwick found last year that people in a happy mood become 12% more productive. Dr Sgroi, who co-led the study said: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”


The process they used for making people happy involved small gestures: Providing people with chocolates and fresh fruit, or showing them a funny video. These small acts had a powerful effect on motivation that more than paid off the cost of the initial act. If these simple acts can give a 12% boost in productivity, larger acts are liable to give greater and longer-lasting returns. 

Outside of the improvements to productivity keeping your office motivated with acts of kindness can improve retention, facilitate teamwork and improve health.


In the spirit of Random Acts of Kindness Day, we’ve put together a list of simple acts you can do to bring smiles to those around you.


Reward people and celebrate their achievements.

It can be easy to forget our “pleases” and “thank you” once we’re in a work environment, but these simple messages are very important to the psychology of happiness. Commend people for jobs well done and make sure that their managers are aware of their positive contributions. Don’t just celebrate the big wins: Take the time to demonstrate your appreciation for the slow-burning contribution of team members who keep everything running smoothly.


Small acts of social bonding

Bring in coffee for your coworkers, and ask them how their weekend plans or their hobbies are. Hone those listening skills and ask pertinent questions that demonstrate your interest. On top of making people feel appreciated it can give you a better idea of what motivates them and how you can bring people together as a team. 

Gift somebody a book you think they’ll enjoy

They’ll appreciate the thought that went into the gift and you may be able to bond over the shared reading experience. Having shared cultural experiences can also make it easier to communicate and work together. Gifts that require consideration for the person you’re giving it to will help convey that they are appreciated. 


Anonymous acts of appreciation

Acts of kindness don’t need to be grand gestures and public commendations, and that certainly isn’t to everyone’s style. One method seen in our office is to leave positive messages on post-it notes and whiteboards around the office. The surprise value of getting positive affirmation from the bottom of a stationery cabinet should not be overlooked. If your company uses an online message board such as Slack or Teams you can share an e-card to celebrate recent achievements.

What method should I use? 

Which method will net you the best results will vary from person to person. We each have our own ‘love language’, the set of tools we use to express and accept positive feelings from each other. This means that some people will respond better to casual affirmations woven into a conversation and others will feel a greater benefit from formal gestures of appreciation. An introverted co-worker might prefer to express themselves after taking time to prepare, while an extrovert may embrace spontaneity. Vary your methods and find what works for the people around you. Making expressions of kindness a regular feature of your workspace will be an ongoing process. 


The RAOK foundation offers a range of resources for people trying to bring more positivity into their workplace, alongside a pledge that organisations can take to raise awareness and signal their involvement. 


Christopher Ng, Operations Director at Civil Service College, said:
“We here at Civil Service College are taking the RAK pledge. Expressing kindness to one another deepens the bonds between our team and motivates everyone to work their best. “One act of kindness I’ve taken is hiding motivational notes around the office for people to find throughout the week. It feels good to be changing the ink cartridge on the printer and find a thank you note at the bottom of the drawer.” 


The Civil Service College offers bespoke training on strategies for management and well-being that could improve your workplace. Browse our catalog or book a learning needs assessment to find where you can change your workplace to be a more positive and productive space. 

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