Opinion #HR
Read time: 04'52''
10 February 2024
How kindness and courtesy can improve the workplace
Unsplash © Sebastien Dumitru

How kindness and courtesy can improve the workplace

In the hustle and bustle of the modern workplace, where deadlines loom large and productivity is a constant pursuit, the significance of kindness and courtesy can sometimes be overlooked. However, fostering a culture of respect and consideration within the workplace can have profound effects on employee well-being, collaboration, and overall organizational success. In this article, we'll delve into how kindness and courtesy can significantly improve the workplace environment.

Research shows us that kindness creates better business outcomes. If you’re an upcoming leader, be kind to your employees to retain talent, establish a great culture, and have an encouraging work environment. Kindness yields positive outcomes for businesses. When people receive a compliment or words of recognition, it gives them a sense of fullfillment, improves self-esteem, and brings positive emotions.

This results in more engaged employees.

At an individual level, these transmitters in the brain promote feelings of satisfaction and well-being. It also releases endorphins, which are a natural pain killer.

Setting the tone for positive interactions

Kindness and courtesy are not merely niceties but powerful tools that set the tone for positive interactions in the workplace. From the breakroom to the boardroom, the way employees treat each other has a direct impact on the overall atmosphere and, consequently, productivity.

Building a supportive community

Workplaces that prioritise kindness and courtesy create a supportive community where individuals feel valued and respected. This sense of belonging fosters a positive work environment that encourages collaboration, creativity, and a shared commitment to success.

The ripple effect of workplace kindness

Boosting employee morale

Acts of kindness, whether big or small, contribute to a positive workplace culture. Recognising and appreciating the efforts of colleagues boosts morale and creates a sense of pride in one’s work. This, in turn, leads to higher job satisfaction and a more engaged workforce. It is one of several traits that make great managers and leaders.

Reducing stress and enhancing well-being

A courteous and kind workplace is inherently less stressful. When colleagues treat each other with respect, the overall stress levels diminish, contributing to improved mental health and well-being. This positive atmosphere can even have physical health benefits for employees.

Concrete ways to infuse kindness into the workplace

Expressing gratitude

A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Encourage a culture of gratitude by acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of colleagues. Whether through verbal recognition, handwritten notes, or team-wide acknowledgments, expressing gratitude creates a positive and uplifting atmosphere.

Active listening

Kindness extends beyond words. Actively listening to colleagues demonstrates genuine interest and empathy. Make an effort to understand others’ perspectives, validate their experiences, and foster open communication. This not only strengthens relationships but also enhances teamwork.

Offering support in times of need

Life’s challenges can impact the workplace. Whether a personal crisis or a professional setback, offering support during difficult times fosters a sense of compassion and camaraderie. Simple gestures, such as checking in on a colleague or providing them with assistance, can make a significant difference.

Practice radical self-care

It can be challenging to remember that being kind to others has to first begin with being kind to ourselves.  It’s not self-indulgence. When you’re not right in your mind your performance at work also suffers.

It also impacts others around you.

A beginning point for self-care is managing your workload so that both you and your manager can start working on priorities.

This helps you set clear boundaries and helps you focus on your to-do list so you can keep ahead on the most important tasks.

Care about your job first

What happens when you arrive late or fail to do things integral to you as a person? Others take up the work you failed to do and this causes anxiety stress and frustration. This is where self-care practice can help.

It’s important to be accountable to yourself by setting small goals. These are small but specific objectives that move you closer to the finish line. You can use daily lists to track your progress and get feedback from your managers and employees.

The next thing to do on your list is to identify areas of improvement and how you can approach what you do differently. When you see colleagues struggling with your workload light offer to help even if the tasks are outside your scope of work.

Reach out with intention

With remote work, social connections don’t grow organically. In the office, connections tend to happen more easily. So meet virtually or even in person with colleagues. Ask about their life and their family. Practice active listening. Showing someone you care about what they have to say is an impactful way to show kindness. You can do this by repeating back what they said in your own words to show them that you understand their message.

The business case for workplace courtesy

Enhancing Team Collaboration:  Kindness and courtesy are not just about creating a pleasant work environment; they also contribute to tangible business outcomes. Teams that collaborate effectively produce better results. A courteous workplace encourages open communication, idea-sharing, and constructive feedback, leading to enhanced teamwork. All in all, it leads to automated business communication which benefits any company and its members’ productivity.

Improving Employee Retention: Employees are more likely to stay in an environment where they feel valued and respected. Doubtless, if your company offers health insurance, it increases trust and loyalty. However, workplace courtesy contributes to a positive company culture, reducing turnover rates and the costs of recruiting and training new personnel.

Implementing courtesy in leadership

Lead by Example: Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping workplace culture. By exemplifying kindness and courtesy, leaders set the standard for behaviour within the organisation. When leaders prioritise respectful communication and empathetic leadership, it permeates through all levels of the company.

Promoting Inclusivity: Kindness and courtesy extend to embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity. Create an environment where all employees feel welcome and accepted, regardless of their background or identity. This not only aligns with ethical principles but also enhances creativity and innovation within the organisation.

Be considerate: To be considerate means you account for the feelings of others when you take an action. This can mean you think about another’s experiences before you provide your opinion in a work meeting. This also means you stopping to help someone. And engage in different ways to show care and consideration. You can clean the meeting area and start by completing your tasks by the deadline.

Recognise the strengths of others: It’s very important to understand the strengths of your colleagues. They were hired for a reason and the strength they bring to the table has an impact on the team’s productivity and eventual success.

Be aware of your tonality: It’s common for teams to communicate with each other using email or messaging platforms. These ways of correspondence can also lead to miscommunication. Whenever possible try to be clear in your messages and respond in a manner that portrays your feelings on the ideas on the table.

This avoids any confusion.


In conclusion, kindness and courtesy are not merely abstract concepts but powerful catalysts for positive change within the workplace. By prioritizing respectful communication, expressing gratitude, and fostering a supportive community, organisations can create a culture that enhances employee well-being, collaboration, and overall success.