19 Easy Ways to Brighten Your Colleagues' Day
Sometimes the daily grind can get mundane even for people who love their work. So if you’re looking for ways to make your job even more pleasant, consider bringing a little smile to the people around you.
By adding some humor and happiness to their day, you’ll not only reap the benefits of improving relationships with the people you interact with on a daily basis, but you’ll also become a more in-demand person to work with and be around.
And that certainly couldn’t hurt your position for future promotions or prospects. Plus, being kind and going out of your way for other people can make you feel better and live a generally happier life.
Here’s a list of a bunch of small activities or choices you can do throughout your day to improve the lives of those around you (and yours in the process).
If any of these feel right to you, try them out. But don’t force it, or it will feel awkward for everyone.
You never know what good might come out of going just a little out of your way for others.
Make Eye Contact
You may think you already make eye contact with the people you work with. But the truth is, we get busy in our everyday lives and tend to rush around without actually looking at the world – and people – around us.
Take time to get more present with the people you’re interacting with by really looking them in the eyes. It may feel off-putting at first, but you’ll quickly find that you’re even more attentive and in tune with all the elements of what your coworker is trying to communicate.
This should only be employed with people with whom you are interacting already. Please don’t just start making eye contact with random coworkers while they’re attempting to work. It will be uncomfortable for your coworker and the HR department as they try and explain to you what appropriate types of eye contact really are.
Much like eye contact, smiling is simple, easy, and extremely underrated.
Next time you’re chatting it up with someone you work with, consider adding a smile into the conversation. You’ll likely find that it eases any tension in a conversation and makes you and whoever you’re talking to feel more relaxed.
Like eye contact, of course, use this tactic in moderation and only with people you’re actively working with or you’ll likely find yourself being avoided by your uneasy coworkers.
Ask Them About Themselves
You know how much you like to talk about yourself? Well most everyone is that way.
People enjoy discussing their personal opinions, point of view, and life in general.
Rather than relying all the things that happened to you that morning, ask your coworker about themselves and show a genuine interest in whatever their response might be.
Talk About an Interest Outside of Work
Believe it or not, even some of the most seemingly average people at work can have amazing lives, talents, and interests outside of their daily grind.
Though you may clock a lot of time next to someone on a daily basis, you may not actually have quality conversations if your topics are always related to work-oriented tasks or expectations.
Talking about interests and hobbies outside of work will not only be more thrilling conversation than what you’re used to speaking about, but you also may find out that you have something in common with someone you work with.
Ask Them for Their Advice or Opinion
If you prefer to keep the conversation work-related, you can still brighten your colleague's day by asking them for an opinion or advice on a certain project.
By going out of your way to ask for their two cents on something, it shows you value what the have to say. And work environments improve when people feel respected.
Plus, getting an extra set of eyes on something you’re personally working on could help you get a fresh perspective, which may bring up opportunities for improvement that you had before considered.
Take Them to an Agenda-Free Lunch
Few things will improve your relationship with another human being like giving them free food.
Whether it’s a casual food truck chat or taking them to a more formal lunch, offering to take out a colleague simply as a kind gesture without some sort of agenda behind it will earn you major points.
And, because you’re agenda-less, you may never even need to use those “points.” But, at least you’ll have done a kind act for someone who really appreciated it.
When talking to your coworker, whether it’s out at lunch or about topics you may never have broached before, take the time to actually listen to them. Too often in life we spend so much of our time simply responding or waiting for our turn to speak rather than actually listening.
In a world filled with tons of distractions in the palm of our hand, it can get even harder to truly listen and be present with another person. Become a little more self-aware in personal conversations and bigger meetings whether or not you’re truly listening to what was say.
You may find that, like eye contact, you’ve just been going through the motions for years. People inherently feel when they are truly being listened to, rather than someone just waiting patiently for their turn to talk.
You may find that conversations become more efficient and effective. Or, at the very least, you’ll have made someone you work with feel like they were truly heard, which is a great feeling by itself.
Remember Something They Told You Earlier
One of the benefits of actively listening to someone when they speak is that you may find you retain a lot of information they share.
Instead of letting something going in one ear and out the other, take time to remember more elements of the personalities and lives of those around you. And that means you can ask about them later to check in.
So, if you’re looking for a reason to connect or make a coworker feel good about themselves, show that you truly care about them by simply asking about something they previously mentioned. It’s a small but thoughtful act that people will genuinely appreciate.
Help Them With a Task
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and buried in your own work and deadlines. But, if you are able to take a step back and assess your own situation, you may have a bit more time than you think.
Offering up some of that time to help someone who is overwhelmed themselves would be worth its weight in gold to your coworker.
Even if they don’t take you up on the offer, they’ll appreciate knowing that someone has their back the office.
Try a Simple 'Thank You'
Think about last time someone said “thank you” to you. The thought alone likely has you feeling pretty good inside.
Pretty much everyone loves to be appreciated. And there’s almost always some reason to be grateful to someone you work with, even if it’s something as simple as them doing a basic task for you like preparing the meeting room or a more complicated one like improving the multimedia elements in a major presentation.
Whatever it is, taking time to say — or even write — "thank you" will be something your coworkers will truly appreciate.
Compliment Their Work
People can sometimes forget that a job well done should be recognized and rewarded.
Especially in high-achieving and competitive environments, excellent work becomes the expectation. And any time people become expected to do something, they can build a sense of resentment.
When you take a moment to simply recognize that something was well done, people will become motivated to again be praised for their efforts and will continue doing the great work.
Pay Them a Compliment to the Higher Ups
Taking time to tell company bosses or managers that a coworker is doing a great job can go a long way.
If you’re not into seeking attention for doing a good task, consider doing this anonymously. You’ll be a team player for making sure the powers-that-be know that you appreciate and support the other teammates who help you in your task.
Plus, if something good comes directly out of it for the person you paid the compliment to, you’ll get to reap all the personal happiness that comes along with doing a good deed for another person.
Bring in Goodies
Nothing will make your colleagues smile more quickly than providing some muffins, bagels, or cookies to nosh on.
You never know the personal situations of other people in the office (unless, of course, you ask, like previously suggested). But for some people, rushed mornings or forgetfulness can lead to overlooking breakfast and ending up feeling stressed, rushed, and hungry.
Offering up a little something is not only thoughtful, it’s downright helpful for those who overlooked it.
Be the King or Queen of Coffee
If your office brews its own coffee, there’s a good chance you’ve gone into the break room at some point only to realize that the coffee pot is empty.
Rather than give up, complain to whoever may supposedly be in charge of the task, or roll your eyes and make passive aggressive comments — though they might feel rewarding at the time — just put yourself in charge of keeping it full.
Make a mini game for yourself and be the one who goes in and secretly makes sure the coffee remains full and fresh for everyone who may want a little sip throughout the day.
You don’t always need to be in charge of it, but taking care of this small task will definitely be appreciated by the caffeine-loving people you work with.
Give an (Anonymous) Gift
For those people who really relish in stealth, consider quietly giving a gift to different people at the office.
Leaving something on someone’s desk that they could appreciate your use will make them immediately grateful, and maybe even excited at the prospect that someone in the office was thoughtful enough to take time to secretly leave them something. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start a secret gift exchange culture and you, in turn, could end up with something fun on your desk in the future.
But even if it’s a one-time thing, you’ll know from the smile on your colleague’s fact that you’ve definitely brighten their day.
Give Them Credit
Like a physical gift, offering praise that someone did excellent work on a task — and making sure everyone in the office knows it — will make your coworker feel appreciated, proud, and valued.
And you’d better believe those are all very positive emotions that will immediately make them feel better about themselves and their day.
Arrange a Play Day
If you’re feeling rather ambitious and have a more relaxed office setting, you can try to do something bigger for the rest of your coworkers.
Be the one who takes the reins on having a performer come brighten up your day or saving up so you all take a half day of fun somewhere in the area.
Maybe you hire a masseuse or an Elvis impersonator to sing to people during lunchtime. Whatever you can get the OK for that you think people might genuinely enjoy, go for it. Sometimes even just a little something different from the routine can be enough to make a day truly unforgettable.
Be the Class Clown for the Day (or Week)
If you’ve got the personality to be more playful, consider letting it run free a little bit at the office while, of course, maintaining whatever professional etiquette you need to in order to retain your job.
People always appreciate humor. And too often we can get bogged down by major tasks at hand and the stress of the workplace that life gets taken too seriously.
Going out of your way to lighten up the mood will help people in general not only relax, but also just want to be around you. An office where people can laugh together is one where people genuinely enjoy working together.
Sometimes, all it takes is one little goofy spark to remind everybody of that fact.
Adding some color and beauty to your office will be much appreciated by the people you work with (assuming, of course, they don’t have any allergy issues).
Plus, having different flowers on your desk could be a good conversation starter, which could lead to all sorts of (previously mentioned) ways to also improve your colleague’s day.