After ten years of working in a professional environment (at a small boutique PR firm and a large healthcare entity), I have come to realize the importance of loving and serving my colleagues in a variety of ways.

As I was emptying the office’s dishwasher at my office a few weeks ago, I thought about how important it is to quietly love on my colleagues. This obviously can look very different from business to business, but hopefully this list encourages you to think about ways you can serve your co-workers. (And if you don’t work or work from home, many of these ideas can translate to family, neighbors and friends.)

  1. Say hello: I know that seems so simple that it shouldn’t be on the list, but it should be. A simple hello is one of the easiest ways to acknowledge people. I try to make a point of saying hello to people as they walk past my cubicle (unless I am engrossed in work or they are obviously busy).
  2. Give cards: Cards are a simple way to show you appreciate someone. Write a simple notecard and leave it on a colleague’s desk or where they hang their coat. It will make their day.
  3. Celebrate birthdays: Birthdays are a perfect excuse to celebrate a colleague. In our office people will often make signs that say, “Happy Birthday Nick!” and put balloons on office doors. At my old job we had a birthday lunch once a month celebrating the birthdays for that month.
  4. Bring in food: Making cookies at home? Make a double batch and take some to work. Put the food in the kitchen with a note saying something like Made these with you in mind. Have a great day! -Jessica. Your colleagues will so appreciate it.
  5. Empty the dishwasher: No one likes to empty the dishwasher, but everyone is grateful when it is done. If you notice your office’s dishwasher has been run, don’t leave your dishes in the sink. Empty the dishwasher with a servant’s heart.
  6. Clean out the fridge: This is a gross job. Honestly, I have never done it. But I am SO thankful when the fridge smells and someone rolls up their sleeves to clean it out.
  7. Plan a potluck: People love food! A colleague and I recently decided to take it upon ourselves to start up a monthly themed potluck. Last month it was soup and salad and this month is going to be “picnic.” It was totally spontaneous and was awesome. People at together, laughed and enjoyed community and good food. Moreover, everyone was SO appreciative. It hardly took any work, but the payoff was worth it.
  8. Plan a family gathering: So often when you work in an office environment, you never meet colleague’s significant others, kids, etc. Plan an annual family gathering at your home or a local park where people can bring those that matter. You will find that when you have met their loved one, you have more to talk about, appreciate and love about your colleagues.
  9. Celebrate work done well and milestones: When a colleague does good work, such as completes a project, is in the newspaper, or has a baby, celebrate them. Hang the item on a bulletin board, acknowledge the achievement at a staff meeting, etc. Do it publicly. Let them know that they and their work matters.
  10. Encourage a co-worker: Inevitably people you work with are going to experience hard times. From losing a loved one to working overtime on a project, recognize where a colleague is at and encourage them appropriately. It might be a hug, an email that says, I’m happy to help, or flowers.
  11. Attend speaking events and awards: If you work in an industry where speaking events and awards dinners are the norm, attend the events when your colleague is being honored in some way. Having familiar faces in the audience will be more appreciated by your colleague (even a seasoned one) than you realize.
  12. Pray for your co-workers: Most importantly, pray for your co-workers. They don’t have to even know you are praying for them. Pray for strength, good health, their families and whatever else comes to mind.

How else can you serve and love on your co-workers?

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  1. 1

    Thanks for this Jessica – love it! It’s nice to see a blog post for those of us who work. By God’s grace I already do a few of your suggestions but I will certainly try those that I don’t already do.

    God bless

  2. 3

    Jessica,
    What a great list of ways to serve in the workplace…many of those could translate to home as well. One of the ways my good friend in Christ served me after a knee operation was helping me unload the dryer and fold clothes…a simple gesture but it spoke volumes to me about having a servant’s heart. Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. 5

    Excellent ideas and an important position for us to take in the world. Thank you for bringing service in the workplace to the forefront! I’d love to hear more about ways to minister to those we work with!

  4. 6

    On the refrigerator note: Don’t just leave your food in the refrigerator either. At my last job people just left things in the break room refrigerator to rot. GROSS. It didn’t matter how many e-mails we sent out or how many notes we in the front office left – people still left moldy food or spilled drinks for others to clean up. It made me so mad. This was a building full of adults. Our janitor had better things to do than clean out the refrigerator. She (the janitor) and I used to laugh about how we were going to post her picture on the refrigerator with a huge note that said “This is not your mother!”

  5. 8

    What a great list, wonderful reminders of showing love in practical ways – Thanks for sharing! #12 reminds me about the power of prayer – They don’t even have to know you are praying for them! Thank you.

  6. 10

    These are great ideas. I have worked as a teacher in the past and all of these fit perfectly into that arena. I am more of a stay at home mom now, but still great things that translate to neighborhood, moms groups, or just friends in general. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. 11

    Jessica, this is a great list! When I left my company 2 years ago, several coworkers said “Who is going to tell me I look good when you are gone?” I was so honored that my regular compliments meant something to them. I always tried to find something kind and personal to say to my coworkers everyday. “Oh, your hair looks so good today.” Or “Is that a new shirt?” Goes so far. Even with the men!! Thanks for sharing your workplace experience with us. So, so important!!

  8. 13

    Love this! It seems like we don’t talk enough about being a Christian in the workplace. As a government employee, I am nervous to mention my faith to co-workers, unless I know them well. But I think part of sharing God’s truth and love is building those relationships, to the point where you feel comfortable sharing what God has done in your life. I agree with these great ways to serve our co-workers and show them love — I need to do all of these more often!

    A few other ideas — cleaning the microwave or countertops, changing the water bubbler when it’s empty, finding fun ways to recognize holidays (on Valentine’s day, I put post-it’s on the bathroom mirrors saying “You’re Beautiful!” and “You are Loved!”), being willing to help a co-worker who is overwhelmed, offering to help or sending a card when a co-worker is having a hard time…

  9. 15

    Love this list! Great reminder. Sounds like you’d be an ideal co-worker ;)

    Thanks for this important topic today!

  10. 16
    jessica maples says:

    thanks jess… i can so relate to what you have shared and thank you for creating this great list… i often think there isn’t enough attention paid to how we should be Christians in the workplace, but I think this hits the nail right on the head… :o ) jess

  11. 18

    Thanks for sharing this post. Some times we need to be reminded of the little things and I know I need to keep and practice an open heart. This is particularly true for the employee who has practices that we do not agree with or that we have difficulty having a relationship with. An open heart and a sense of love is how Jesus would be.

  12. 19

    What terrific ideas! I am blessed to work with others who do most of these things naturally. We are truly a family and it makes coming to work, for 12 hours, a true joy!

  13. 20
    Michelle Prince Morgan says:

    Great post.

  14. 21
    Beth Williams says:

    Nice to have a post for working women.

    Years ago I had a co-worker who came in and seemed a little down. When I asked about it she told me the situation. God put it on my heart to send her a card in her mailbox. I was reluctant at first, but did it & she really appreciated it. Come to find out she is a Christian also.

    Over the years I have given little cards to people telling them I’m praying for them or to thank them for some nice act they did. I also put away clean dishes, wipe down microwave & clean off table. I usually make coffee in mornings as I make the best in whole office–or so I’m told.

    Recently we had a change in management at the clinic and my job duties changed drastically. At first I was miffed and started thinking unChristian thoughts about my co-workers. Then God hit me with “Pray for your enemies”. So I began praying for all my co-workers. My attitude shifted a little, not much but some.

    Thank you again for this enlightening post! God Bless!! :) :)