Some people think that the workplace is supposed to be free from emotions – get in, work hard, go home. But, research shows that building a culture of care within organizations can actually be really helpful. Some researchers even say that showing love to your coworkers (non-romantic, of course) can be a really positive thing. But, how do you create a culture of care at work? And how do you avoid being burnt out if you are showing the love but aren’t receiving it? Read below for my tips!
Care is contagious
If you are feeling emotionally drained from dealing with your coworkers, you might be in a culture that lacks care. Even if you simply think that your work environment is sterile, you might benefit from more compassion at work. But, how do you create a caring culture if you’re not in one? A lot of times, employees will wait for their managers or others on their team to change the culture for them. When it comes to caring though, it is actually contagious. Research shows that when you show compassion to others, they are more likely to give it back to you. So, this is a case where you don’t have to wait. If you wish that others were nicer, start being nicer yourself. You may start to get some love back in return and change the norms on your team!
There are lots of little ways to show you care
Do you feel like you want to show care to others at work but don’t know how? Research shows that there are actually eight different ways that you can show how you feel. Four of these ways are actually about the small stuff.
- First, you can show care simply by welcoming others into your space to talk. Showing that you like to spend time with others goes a long way.
- Second, ask questions. If you want to know more about somebody else or their feelings, it shows that you are interested in their wellbeing.
- Paying attention to others can show compassion. This means putting your phone away and making eye contact when people are speaking with you!
- Additionally, complimenting other’s performance or showing your appreciation for their hard work is another way to show care. We don’t often stop to say kind words to our colleagues, but it does make a positive difference.
All of these little things can go a long way, so don’t forget to hold yourself accountable for them!
There are bigger ways to communicate care too
The other four ways of showing care to others at work take a little more effort, but may really pay off.
- First, showing empathy to others is a strong way to communicate compassion. This means that, if someone is sharing their perspective with you, you really take time to put yourself in their shoes. For example, if a colleague is having difficulty with a coworker that you really like, instead of dismissing them, try to see why they might feel that way. Thinking about how others feel and communicating understanding is a really great way to show care.
- Offering support to others also works well. Does someone need assistance in understanding a new system? Does someone need to vent about a difficult client? Being there to offer a helping hand or a listening ear can make a big difference.
- Third, expressing kindness to coworkers is key. For example, maybe you try to remember all of your coworkers’ birthdays. Perhaps you take time to laugh and joke with others during downtime. These acts of kindness open the door for other acts of kindness, and the ball keeps on rolling.
- Finally, be consistent. If you are consistent in being kind in small and big ways, you can really drive a culture change on your team.
Care can be exhausting
However, the suggestion to provide care to your coworkers does come with a word of caution. Being compassionate, without receiving compassion, can be draining. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. You can actually get burnt out from providing care to others. The good news is that you can be replenished from compassion fatigue in work or in life. So, if it takes a while to grow the culture you want at work, but you have positive, compassionate relationships at home, you won’t be as burnt out. The same goes in the opposite direction. If you are lacking care at home, you can replenish your resources at work, until you can create the circumstances you want. Overall, just be conscious that, if you are giving lots of love to others, you have to re-energize yourself too by spending time engaging in high-quality relationships.
How do you show care at work? Do you find it difficult to remember to be caring? Is your team full of care or lacking it? We would love to hear from you below!