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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

3 Super Easy Ways to Make Your Co-worker's Day—and Boost Your Own Karma in the Process

Few things make us enjoy our jobs more than working with people we like. Co-workers who, despite having piles of work on their plates, will occasionally turn away from their screens and talk to us about our weekend plans, the latest episode of our favorite TV shows, or even our roommate frustrations.

It’s hard to imagine how we would survive a day without seeing a few friendly faces scattered around the office. So, how can you show appreciation for the people who often literally make your day better just by smiling in your direction?

Answer: Random acts of kindness.

I know, it’s easier said than done. In today’s workplace, where it’s common for employees to spend the entire eight (and by eight, I mean nine to 10) hours crossing off to-do after to-do at their desks, it’s difficult to spare a few moments to just express gratitude.

But these people are well worth that time. That’s why we’ve come up with three extremely quick and easy ways (think: no more than five minutes each) you can send some love to your co-workers. We guarantee that these acts of kindness will make everyone involved (even you!) feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

1. Post an Encouraging Sticky Note on Someone’s Desk

You know that sticky notes can push you ahead in your career: They help you reach your goals, they get others to do what you want, and they even serve as inspiration. So why can’t sticky notes also motivate and encourage your co-workers?

Think about the people you work with. Is anyone working on a particularly stressful assignment that appears to have gotten nowhere in the past week? Who is preparing for a client meeting and is noticeably nervous about it? Grab a Post-it note, and write a short message explaining why you believe in him or her so strongly. You can make it cheesy, funny, or just straight-up easy by using one of these motivational quotes.

2. Send a “Good Job” Email Out to the Team

Surprise, surprise: You aren’t the only one who craves positive feedback about a recent success—no matter how small. You can very easily make someone’s day by sending a short email to your team celebrating a co-worker’s recent wins. Did someone recently close a deal, add a feature to your company site, reach a quarterly goal, or simply kick butt presenting at your weekly meeting? If so, use the next five minutes to write a quick email.

You can talk about what it is that wowed you, as well as why you admire the achievement. Avoid more than two sentences of praise, though, because then you just sound like a suck-up—making a sweet moment feel weird for everyone.

Bonus points if you can find the perfect GIF to sum up how proud you feel.

3. Tweet Words of Kindness

A few months ago, there was a campaign called #RTOK, or “Random Tweets of Kindness.” The campaign encouraged people to send each other words of thanks, encouragement, or admiration. Unaware of the campaign, I received several tweets that day and was pleasantly surprised.

Why not, then, extend these heartwarming 140-character messages beyond the #RTOK campaigns and send them whenever? There can never be too much positivity on the internet. (Seriously, though, it could use some positivity.) While giving specific colleagues shout-outs might be unprofessional on LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s perfectly normal on Twitter.

Start crafting uplifting messages for those co-workers who are active on the platform. Some examples: “I’m very thankful for [insert awesome person] for always [insert reason they’re awesome]!” or “Can’t believe you [insert amazing accomplishment], [insert amazing person]—your hard work paid off!”

Quick reminder: Don’t send random tweets of kindness to your favorite colleagues every day, because your messages will appear less genuine each time. There’s only so many times you can virtually exclaim “great job!” without sounding fake, or worse, like a crazed fan.

Have other ideas for sending your co-workers some love? Let me know on Twitter!

Photo of sticky notes courtesy of Shutterstock.