Of all the things you can be in this world, be kind.

In my small town, many houses have this sign anchored in their front lawn or front windows. This last year has taken so much, loved ones, energy, time, our collaborative spaces yet, it has also given so much. This year has given me the chance to find the silver lining, a chance to slow down, to be present and focus on what is important and of course, a chance to be thankful. We all have had a crash course in being patient and kind.

This relates to the remote workplace as well. Putting effort into being kind is easy, does not impact the budget or project timeline, and may even help productivity. Here are some ideas that are quick and easy and can make a difference:

  • Before jumping into the topic of your umpteenth zoom meeting of the day, take 5 minutes to check in with everyone on the call where appropriate. We call it tapping into our “Head Space”. You will learn amazing things about your co-workers ranging from their plans for the weekend, COVID status in another part of the world and its impact on their families, to karaoke song preferences. Wouldn’t you think it’s worthwhile taking 5-10 precious minutes of your meeting to welcome and learn about your co-workers?
  • Salutation and closing of a correspondence – easy peasy, right? Many emails are sent without a basic hello and without a send-off or even a name. I get it, we are all pressed for time and simply want to get the info out and check off the box. Take the extra 10 seconds to greet your recipient with a “Hello” or “Happy Monday” and close out with a “Thank You” or “Have a Great Day”.
  • Make a note to check in with a coworker, particularly one that may have a lot on their plate or sounds stressed. Check in one on one, or via chat, Slack or quick email if a call is not feasible. This will go a long way and your small effort will be appreciated.
  • Smile! And provide a greeting – Good Morning or Evening. Let the people know on the other end that you are glad to see their faces. Bonus: you’ve just worked out 43 muscles in your face…imagine if you did this several times during the meeting. Face workout complete!

There are so many adjectives that can be associated with each of us. Timely, energetic, stern, no nonsense, funny, focused, all of which are impressive. Kind is the one adjective I hope comes to mind when my name is mentioned.

– Denise Keller