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.)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?