Random Acts of Kindness at Work

How to Put a Smile on Your Coworker's Face

Bringing a coworker coffee is a nice thing to do.
Why do so many random acts of kindness involve food and drink?. Cultura RM/Jason Butcher / Collection Mix: Subjects / Getty Images

There must be random acts of kindness going on in some workplaces but you wouldn't know it by reading some of the stories people share about their colleagues' bad behavior. Very rarely do we hear tales of people who go out of their way to do something nice for those with whom they work. Is it that such acts are a rarity in the workplace or is it more likely that we, as humans, just like to complain?

What if you could do something that would give one of your coworkers one of those rare stories to tell? Would they spread the word about your random act of kindness? How about giving it a whirl? Try doing one of these nice things for someone in your workplace.

  • Bring your coworker a cup of coffee when she looks like she needs a pick-me-up.
  • Share your mid-afternoon snack with him or if you don't want to share, bring an extra one (everyone gets hungry a couple of hours after lunch).
  • Buy your coworker her favorite iced cold beverage on the first warm day of the year.
  • Celebrate Friday—or make Monday more bearable—by bringing in a treat for the entire department. Or maybe choose to do this on a rainy day to cheer everyone up.
  • Offer to stay at work late or come in early to help a coworker with a difficult project (don't wait to be asked).
  • Praise him for a job well done. No one can get too many compliments.
  • Take a difficult customer off your coworker's hands by saying you're there to relieve him for lunch or a break (it doesn't have to be true).
  • If you see someone is about to make a mistake, try to intervene to prevent it.
  • Offer unsolicited advice, especially to a new colleague who seems to be floundering.
  • Stop others from spreading a rumor about someone.
  • If you see something you know your colleague will absolutely love, a book about a topic in which he's interested for example (nothing too extravagant), get it for him.
  • Include a less experienced colleague in a meeting or on a project that can help her grow.
  • Invite him to join your lunch group especially if he doesn't have many workplace friends.
  • Stop by her desk to say good morning.
  • Stop by his desk to say goodbye.
  • Hold the (otherwise unoccupied) elevator while your colleague runs back to her desk to get something she forgot even if you're in a hurry to leave the building.
  • Praise her to the boss who may not realize how hard she's working.
  • Save him a trip to the office supply closet by offering to pick up his supplies when you get yours.
  • Offer to  mentor an inexperienced coworker. Many people are too shy to ask or may not even think of it.
  • Put your colleague's bully in her place or lend a sympathetic ear and give him advice on how to deal with one.
  • Tell a coworker about an internal job opening for which you think she'd be perfect.
  • Pack an extra brown bag lunch for a coworker who can't ever seem to remember to bring his own.
  • Have an errand to run in your coworker's neighborhood after work? Offer her a ride home so she doesn't have to take the bus or train that day.
  • Offer to relieve him or one of his undesirable tasks for a day or more (as long as you clear it with the boss).