20 random acts of kindness that will make work more enjoyable

By in Appreciation
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Stories about random acts of kindness all have something in common: people demonstrate kindness, with no expectation of anything in return. These inspiring stories capture our interest and give us hope. Many of them go viral: 

– A restaurant owner offered a fresh, free meal to an unknown homeless person

Thousands of people donated to help a man who walked 21 miles to and from work each day

– The owner of a New York dry cleaner helped out-of-work customers by cleaning their interview attire, free of charge

There’s no reason random acts of kindness should be limited to the “outside world” or to strangers. In the midst of the holiday season, I challenge you to surprise, delight, and inspire your colleagues with random acts of kindness.

These acts don’t have to require a huge effort, or cost a lot of money, if any at all. They often don’t require a lot of time either. All it takes is one small gesture to brighten someone’s day.

Let this list serve as a starting place for your RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS:
R: Recognize when someone is having a bad day; find out what you can do to help.

A: Ask a coworker a thoughtful question, then listen (really listen!) to the response.

N: Nix gossip when you hear it.

D: Drop off a delicious snack at someone’s desk.

O: Offer to help with a task a coworker doesn’t enjoy.

M: Make time to connect with a former colleague.


A: Acknowledge another person’s talent.

C: Cancel a meeting and let your team leave an hour early.

Take time to walk around the block with a coworker.

S: Stop to have a meaningful conversation in the hallway.


O: Open the door for those behind you.

F: Fill the candy jar on someone else’s desk.


K: Keep a file of inspiring quotes; send one via email to boost someone’s day.

I: Invite a new person to join you for lunch.

N: Notice a coworker’s effort on a project and compliment them.

D: Deliver a handwritten thank you note.

N: Nab the bill at a restaurant and buy someone a free meal.

E: Empty the dishwasher in the break room.

S: Set up a coffee break with someone from another team.

S: Share unsolicited, positive feedback about an employee with his or her manager.

These or other random acts of kindness may or may not make the front page of a newspaper. But this we know for sure: incorporate random acts of kindness into your daily work routine and you’ll find the receivers aren’t the only ones who benefit from your thoughtfulness—you will, too.

By liz sheffield
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Comments (3)
Jeff Fredericks

Great idea! Used it to come up with a unique Christmas stocking stuffer, making donations to many of our family’s favorite charities and causes:

R: Rabbit Haven
A: ASPCA Fresno
N: Naval Aviation Museum
D: Deacon Fund, Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos
O: Operation Milagro II, Sea Shepherd
M: Mike’s Bikes Africa Bike Drive

A: Arthritis Bike Classic
C: Child Advocates of Santa Clara County
T: Trees for Every Season (Heifer International)
S: Saving America’s Mustangs

O: Operation Care & Comfort Tickets for Troops
F: Furry Friends Rescue

K: Knights of Heroes Foundation
I: International Society for Reef Studies
N: Nicaragua Madriz, Amigos de las Americas
D: Depression and Anxiety Association of America
N: Noble Cat Companion Program, Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART)
E: EMQ FamiliesFirst
S: Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS)
S: Shark Angels

December 25, 2015   |   Reply
Josefin Björnberg

I am impressed with the owner of a New York dry cleaner. It is great act of kidness. We all need to learn a good lesson from him.

January 27, 2016   |   Reply

Thanks for the reminder to commit random acts of kindness. I found it interesting that as I read through the list, there are many that I typically do, however, I never thought of them as random acts of kindness.

January 11, 2018   |   Reply
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