Are you nice to your co-workers? Before you answer, take a moment to think about it. How often do you ask them personal questions before jumping into a request? When was the last time you spoke to the person sitting next to you about anything besides work?
After reading this New York Times article about how bosses don’t have the time to be nice to their employees at work, it got me thinking—maybe, I’m not as nice as I think I am. And by not taking the extra effort to be kind to my co-workers, I could be contributing to a negative atmosphere.
According to the article, “Rudeness and bad behavior have all grown over the last decades, particularly at work...insensitive interactions have a way of whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls.” I know I’m definitely guilty of being so caught up in my work that I sometimes barely acknowledge the conversation someone is trying to have with me—instead, I just nod along, thinking about my to-do list.
But that’s ridiculous. Because being happy at work can be just as important as your salary. And the more friendly you are with the people you see every day, the happier you’ll be.
With that in mind, here are five fast and easy ways to be nicer at work—it’s easier than you think.
1. Share a Funny Link
When you come across something online that makes you laugh, you never question sending it over to a friend. So, the next time you come across an article that makes you giggle, send it to a co-worker who you think will appreciate it. Found a perfectly hilarious GIF that sums up the office? Use your company’s internal chat system (if appropriate) to share it with the group.
2. Ask Someone How Their Night Was
Taking the time to start a conversation about someone’s personal life is a simple way to be nice. And no, you don’t have to go too in-depth and start a 30-minute conversation. But starting out with, “How did the event go last night?” or “Did you enjoy having your family in town this weekend?” is an easy way to show someone you care (and that you were listening yesterday).
3. Invite Someone to Grab Lunch With You
I know, I know—you don’t have time to sit down and eat lunch outside the office. But, let’s face it, we all need a break from work and we all must grab lunch at some point. As long as you’re going outside to get something, you might as well ask someone if he or she would like to join. Even if the person doesn’t have time to go to lunch the day you ask, you’ll still make him or her feel special by throwing the invite out there.
4. Pick Up an Extra Coffee
Very rarely do you come across co-workers who refuse a caffeine fix. Whether it’s on your way into the office in the morning or during a quick work break, pick up an extra coffee (or tea, or whatever else your office likes) for someone. Not only will this brighten the person’s day, but if he or she pays it forward, it’ll start a chain of positivity in the office.
Bonus: Caffeine has been known to do wonders for your professional life.
5. Give Someone a Compliment
One of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs is that they feel underappreciated. We’ve all been there, and we all know it’s not a fun place to be—so challenge yourself to pay compliments to your co-workers regularly. Maybe someone did a great job on the latest project proposal, or maybe a co-worker landed an incredible sale. All you have to do is shoot over a quick email that says, “Hey! Just wanted to let you know that your pitch was really creative, and I’m excited to see how the company moves forward with it.” (If you need help coming up with a compliment, check out how to show thanks in any professional situation.)
See, it’s not that hard or time-consuming to be nicer at work. But, in case you need more convincing, know that research has found that being nice to your colleagues reaps more benefits than you may think.