If you have been considering a new setting for your remote office, here’s why you should look no further than to work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad! With its vibrant atmosphere, excellent amenities, and commitment to sustainability, Kalamata is ideal for digital nomads. After visiting recently and having a new-found interest in remote working ourselves, Cooper and I started imagining what it would be to like to live and work here. Following are are five of our insights as to why you should consider working from Kalamata as a digital nomad.
This wonderful spot is the economic, commercial and cultural centre of South Peloponnese in Greece. It is the capital city of the Messinia region and serves 100,000 people every day. Kalamata is a modern all-year round bustling destination with a rich history and a multitude of attractions. Nestled at the apex of the Messinian Bay, it is known for its stunning coastline, lush mountains, and delicious local produce.
Why work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad?
Kalamata is renowned for its Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This creates a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, or simply relaxing on the beautiful beaches. Kalamata’s beach, a long stretch of sand and pebbles, is one of the city’s main attractions. It is frequently awarded the Blue Flag for its cleanliness and the quality of its facilities.
The cityscape is a fascinating blend of old and new, where contemporary architecture coexists with historic buildings. The Old Town of Kalamata, situated at the foot of the Kalathi Mountain, is a must-visit area. Its narrow alleys, traditional houses, Byzantine churches, and the imposing Kalamata Castle, offer a trip back in time. The modern city, on the other hand, is vibrant and lively, brimming with shops, cafes, and eateries.
Culture and history
Kalamata is also a city of culture, hosting a variety of events throughout the year. It is home to the International Dance Festival, which is held every summer and attracts performers from all over the world. The city also houses a range of museums. These include the excellent Archaeological Museum of Messinia and the Folklore and History Museum.
Find out more about all that’s on offer in Kalamata. Visit the Municipality of Kalamata’s website here. Start by browsing the ‘visitors’ section.
Kalamata’s famous foodie delights!
Kalamata is known worldwide for its olives and olive oil. This produce is considered some of the best in the world. We would agree – especially after having the chance to attend the city’s annual Food Stories event (pictured below)!
The local cuisine is a gastronomic delight. Traditional tavernas serve a multitude of dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Food lovers will particularly enjoy the local markets on every Wednesday to Saturday. Score deals on the famed Kalamata olives, local honey, figs, and the region’s renowned wines.
Kalamata is a city that charms its visitors with its diverse offerings. These include beautiful natural scenery and vibrant lifestyle, rich history and cultural heritage. And let’s not forget its delectable local cuisine. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture enthusiast, Kalamata has something for everyone.
5 great reasons to work remotely from Kalamata in Greece
Which brings me back to why you might want to work from Kalamata in Greece as a digital nomad! Obviously before planning to move here to live and work, you need to check your eligibility. If you’re not being sponsored to move, you may be eligible for a digital nomad visa in Greece. Here’s more info on that.
Our five pics for why this is a secret gem on the digital nomad map:
Awesome lifestyle opportunities in Kalamata for digital nomads
Kalamata offers an amazing quality of life – great weather and a lively atmosphere year-round. The cost of living is reasonable, making it easy for digital nomads to enjoy the many attractions and activities here. Whether you prefer spending your days lounging on the beach, hiking in the nearby Taygetos Mountains, or exploring the bustling city centre, Kalamata has something for everyone.
Terrific remote working amenities
Kalamata is well-equipped for digital nomads, offering top-notch remote working facilities, such as the fantastic co-working space Phaos ΚΟΙΝΣΕΠ (House by Phaos). The city is continuously investing in its internet and infrastructure, ensuring that you’ll always be connected and able to work efficiently. With reliable Wi-Fi and plenty of cafes and public spaces to work from, you’ll find it easy to stay productive in Kalamata.
The Work From Kalamata website is quite new too. Browse it here for more information about working remotely in this region.
This wonderful place is committed to environmental sustainability. Its people and leaders are passionate about taking care of their own backyard. The municipality is actively involved in European initiatives to make a real impact on the environment. Kalamata is one of the European Commission’s 100 ‘smart cities’ across the EU that have committed commit to a goal of climate-neutrality by 2030.
By choosing Kalamata as your remote work location, you’ll be supporting a community that is taking active steps towards a greener future.
Getting around in Kalamata, Greece
Navigating Kalamata is a breeze, as the city is compact and easily walkable or cyclable. If you prefer public transportation, the city’s bus system is efficient and regular, making it simple to get around. Need to travel further? There’s a quick bus to Athens (pictured below) that runs along a new highway, getting you to the capital in under three hours. And with an international airport located in Kalamata, exploring the rest of Greece or Europe is just a flight away.
History and culture – what can a digital nomad immerse in while living in Kalamata?
Kalamata is rich in history and culture, offering an abundance of attractions for you to explore during your downtime. Discover thousands of years of history as you visit ancient ruins, historic castles, and archaeological sites. The local food and wine scene is also incredible, with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Immerse yourself in Greek culture and cuisine while you work remotely in this stunning city.
Kalamata offers an unparalleled experience for digital nomads, combining a fantastic lifestyle, excellent remote working amenities, and a commitment to sustainability. With easy access to both the city’s attractions and the rest of Greece, Kalamata is the perfect destination for those seeking a unique and fulfilling remote work experience.
Got questions or comments? Let us know in the space below or get in touch on social media :)
Often when we think about remote work and community it’s easy to imagine some sort of YouTube or TikTok dream. You know, the one where everyone lands in Bali, operates from a cool coworking (or co-living) space, and enjoy coffee and nights out together? They swap contacts and support each other, often collaborating and finding freedom and fame by the beach.
I’m sure it is like that for some people.
But for many, finding community while we work remotely isn’t that simple.
Cooper and I recently relocated back to the UK on an Ancestry Visa. We love living in England. There’s so much opportunity here professionally speaking. Socially too, in the right situation. I also love most things about working remotely. We have the tech and the know-how to get things done easily. Many employers ‘get it’ too, so there’s no clock watching across time zones – trust exists. And, there are some wellbeing benefits associated with not having to be ‘on’ all day in an office.
Why then, last weekend over lunch, did it dawn on us that we feel a bit “meh”?
What’s going on with remote work then?
A CBS report we spotted on YouTube, shared that now over 17 million Americans call themselves digital nomads. That is, they are Americans living and working in other parts of the world.
In a stat that surprised me, CBS reported that two thirds of these so-called digital nomads were not freelancing or setting up their own businesses. Not at all. They are in fact working remotely for an American-based company.
And this is just Americans we’re talking about here. What about remote workers from all other corners of the globe?
There are now dozens of countries in Europe alone that offer what’s called a Digital Nomad visa, and we’ve seen plenty more options to apply for the same sort of thing around the world. In fact, Colombia is one of the latest off the rank to offer a digital nomad visa, and it’s quickly gaining traction as one of the most popular! (count us in…one day!).
A digital nomad visa enables the holder to legitimately work remotely from a different country, complying with tax rules and enjoying temporary resident status.
‘Remote working’ and ‘digital nomads’ are not new concepts, but they are now far more common than pre-COVID. Cooper and I have been interested in this space since 2019 and I am blown away by the changes we’ve witnessed since going through a global pandemic. Obviously, there are significant workforce challenges being faced by employers due to this change, but this post isn’t about that (although with my ‘Internal Comms Manager’ hat on, I could write a few posts about it…).
I’m in a position to work remotely and experience the benefits and drawbacks of it for the first time, which is how we’ve ended up writing this piece.
Remote work and community
Back to community. I wonder if there’s a tendency to undervalue it when it’s there? From neighbours to friends and colleagues – the incidental banter, conversation and learning that goes on is important for our own development.
With millions of people around the world now working remotely, not all of them can possibly be living that happy collaborative Bali dream.
As a remote worker, you may find yourself in a country where your first language isn’t as widely spoken – this can potentially make it harder to find your tribe. Similarly, if you’re in a regional area rather than a capital or big city, there may be fewer networking opportunities.
Cooper and I have been exploring what works for us and wanted to share our experience in case it helps anyone else in a similar situation.
1. Local area – sports and recreation
The first big tip from us is to find a local sports or active meetup. Often the mere act of getting involved trumps the ability to communicate in your first language. Cooper, being more sporty than me, has always made heaps of friends by proactively asking around for how to get involved in anything from footy to running clubs.
It takes a bit of guts to get yourself out there, but this path usually reaps rewards and long-term friends.
Volunteering is a great alternative if, like me, you’re not as sporty as Cooper but happy to have a chat and turn your hand to anything. There are some great opportunities happening in the UK in this space as part of the King’s coronation!
As dog owners, we also always find ‘dog people’ friends at local parks. And you should keep an eye out for interest-based meetups like Yoga or meditation workshops, creative or activity based events.
2. Find an industry conference ora remote work/digital nomad event
If you know a little about us, you have heard us rave about TBEX before. While attending something like this does mean you need to travel, there’s a high chance you’ll connect with like-minded people and form forever-friendships with people who ‘get’ what you’re doing.
There are now plenty of digital nomad and remote working conferences too, e.g. Running Remote just ran a fantastic conference in Lisbon. Again, these attract people from all different industries and parts of the world. But, everyone has the remote work aspect in common. Connections made at events like this are often life-long and continue authentically online despite distance.
3. Check what’s on offer from your company
If your workplace presents remote work as an option, chances are it’s a big enough company to be offering great opportunities for connection too. Get online and have a look over your company’s intranet or Slack/Yammer channels to discover what social groups are available for team members who share common interests and purpose.
Some of these groups offer a unique chance to not just connect, but to make a meaningful difference to company culture, ‘belonging’ and mentoring schemes. If you’re unsure where to start, get in touch with your workplace’s internal communications or HR team who I’m sure will help you out.
Showing up consistently to add your support and get involved helps to add structure and purpose in your day. And, you’re making a difference from wherever you may be.
I’ve found it’s also really important to participate in meetings and video calls where you can, even if you need to juggle time-zones. Having the chance to collaborate and brainstorm with my team mates from abroad first thing in the morning usually adds a spring to my step and sets the tone for my day.
4. Finding community online
This one isn’t so much about just adding yourself to just any Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn or Slack community. It is about finding which community resonates with you, where you hang out.
Where are you most likely to be so you can authentically interact with an online group and find real connection?
💡This piece by We Work Remotely offers a few handy tips on how to optimise your favourite channel (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Slack) to make meaningful connections while you work remotely.
5. Create your own community!
Can’t find a local meetup or online community that’s right for you, or want more? You may not be alone…
Take to Facebook or Meetup and set up an event at a nearby coffee shop, pub, museum or park. You could theme it (e.g. ‘creative meetup’ or ‘expat meetup’) and see what interest you can raise. Sometimes these things take a little time too, so give it a consistent go for a few months to see who you can attract to your online or IRL meetup.
Acting as the connector yourself means you’re making a huge difference to other people. It also potentially helps to add to your professional and personal brand or reputation which can lead to new friends, business leads and opportunities of all kinds.
Here’s our story about how we accidently created our own community, and how we make the most of it now :)
Remote work resources
If you are in a similar situation to us and working remotely yourself, here’s some of our fave resources that support work/life experience in 2023:
In today’s competitive world, business networking is vital for success and is a critical component for achieving success in any industry. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or a corporate professional, building and maintaining a strong network of contacts can open up new opportunities, provide valuable insights, and help you stay ahead of the curve. With the right connections, you can access resources, gain referrals, and establish mutually beneficial relationships that can propel your career or business to new heights. Simply put, business networking is no longer just a nice-to-have, but a must-have for anyone who wants to thrive in their field.
I’ve shed insight on how to introduce yourself professionally and make the most out of your time at conferences and business events to get your career where you’d like it to be.
The importance of professional development – how to introduce yourself professionally: the conference
The packed conference room was buzzing with excited energy. The popularity of the break-out session I’d just witnessed had obviously been underestimated. People were sitting and standing in every free space.
I, like all the attendees, had been impressed by the generosity of the speakers who hadn’t held back on sharing wisdom about their business success strategies.
Dazzled, I simply had to meet them!
I lined up with other inspired folk at the end of the session to say hello. When it was my turn to swiftly meet-and-greet, I spoke but a few words, handed over a business card and scurried off.
Significant networking fail. NOT a lesson in how to introduce yourself professionally or beneficially at an event.
Networking doesn’t have to be scary. Be prepared
We’re coming into our final quarter of the year. With so much on the horizon including conferences, events and a host of opportunities proving the importance of professional development, there’s a good chance you might find yourself in a situation like this. I’m here to urge you to make it work for you (better than I made it work for me).
There’s no doubt that networking fast-tracks the opening of career and business doors. This happens through:
– the gaining of new tips to improve your work
– learning that accelerates growth
– finding customers or a new job
– making friends or discovering people who become future business partners, mentors and collaborators.
Yet, many of us cringe at the very thought of networking.
When we finally get ourselves in front of the crowd, we’re often ill-prepared, shy and take the wrong approach.
I soak up conferences (I especially love TBEX for travel content creators)! I love the learning and the inspiring presenters. I have always known the networking component is seriously valuable, but for many years I’ve made the errors referenced above.
When running my own business, I had to get stuck into the networking game, faking it ‘til I made it, so to speak.
For every person I met, I had a chance to discover how I might add value to what they were working on, and critically, much of that led to paid business.
How to make the most of a conference or event and introduce yourself professionally
It’s easy to slip into shy/tired/straight-up complacency though. This is where you hang out with the same people, get caught scrolling emails on your phone, feel stuck for conversation, or march right on in there with your business card.
Shamefully, I’ve done it all.
But, here’s my intention for us from now on:
be open to opportunity.
Make it your mission to connect with new people at each event you go to. Get to know them on a personal level.
Rather than only talking business, see if you can discover what hobbies, work, people, heroes, background or interests you have in common.
Ask questions, be interested, helpful, and listen some more.
If you have a few conversation-starters up your sleeve, that inevitably improves confidence when you approach someone new in a room.
Try things like ‘what brings you here today’, or ‘what are you working on that you’re most excited about right now’?
Another element I’ve always struggled with is getting my story right. You know, the ‘30 second elevator pitch’ thing!
I have always found it hard to articulate. Probably because I never crafted nor practised it – which is the final important bit of advice I wish to impart.
Instead of stating your job title when you meet new people, try sharing who you serve, what problem you solve, how you solve it and what results you’ve achieved.
For example: ‘I serve business owners by helping them produce high quality, creative digital content and this year already I’ve helped more than 45 brands reach their audience and engagement goals within six months of working with me’.
Over to you…
What emphasis do you put on the importance of professional development?
Make the best of what’s ahead this year, raise your profile and develop connections (offline, initiated via email, and online) that take you closer to your goals.
There’s no time like the present!
Keep in mind too, it’s only human to feel shy, reserved, or unsure of what to say.
Be honest about it – you can be certain others know the feeling well!
Ever felt like you’re done with pleasing others especially when it’s not returned? Most of us have been there! Here’s my take on how to stop pleasing others and why we need to stop excusing ourselves…
For your own health: how to stop pleasing others
One evening when my nephew was very small, he dramatically stood up at the dinner table to declare, ‘Mummy, I need a moment’! Kids are hilarious.
Unfortunately as we grow older, we tend to drop the naive honesty, and when we really do need a moment, we rarely request it.
Can you relate to worrying excessively about managing other people’s wants over your own needs, saying ‘yes’ on autopilot, and over-explaining why you need to say ‘no’ to something?
Would you like to stop pleasing others all the time, even when you feel it’s not right?
With Mother’s Day upon us mid-month, I feel it’s pertinent to be one who stands up against ‘people-pleasing’.
Mums are renowned for putting themselves first, which is why this topic is top of mind.
That said, please do not take this editorial as a generalisation – I will not stereotype because there are people in my circles (yours too, I’m sure) – men and women – wearing all sorts of hats and still uncomfortably squirming at the table tagged, ‘people pleasers’.
I used to think the only way forward was to always do ‘good’ by others, at my own expense. Thankfully I had my unhealthy people-pleasing habits pointed out. Severe symptoms you may recognise are saying yes to everything including things I felt uncomfortable doing, and when I was totally exhausted, all to keep everyone else pleased.
By the same token, I dare say many of you were like me and scrambling to fit it all in – events with family and friends, the never-ending trail of life admin; travel for some, work for others and even moving house (I empathise with a fellow Get it girl who spent her holiday on that task).
Then there’s the nerve-racking life stuff that involves not just physical input but emotional investment too, like taking care of unwell loved-ones or saying farewell to those you won’t see in a while.
A scroll through Instagram and Facebook unsurprisingly showcased our good-time stories, but not the reality of the anxiety and over-commitment issues I was witnessing (then, and on-going for all of us). The familiar strain on faces across town reminded me that we need to practice balancing the line between self-care and selflessness.
Drop the ‘yes’ habit
Being very unhappy due to a long-term ‘yes habit’ and putting others first (even your most beloved) at all costs is not setting a positive example, but instead, sets a negative precedent.
There was a time when people-pleasing generated tears and havoc in my life. It’s why I feel for those around me when I recognise the tension and unnecessary lengthy explanations about not being able to say ‘yes’; or for those who regularly over-promise their time but always cancel on plans at the last minute (not a good look).
Take a moment. What’s the worst that can happen if you just say, ‘no’?
Help a friend out
As friends and colleagues too, we need to look out for each other. Don’t let another people-please for you, if you’re honestly aware they may not have the capacity right now.
I still struggle to say ‘no’. I actually get excited about a lot of things and love to say ‘yes’! But, I’ve made peace with a few things in this regard: I can’t please everyone, but I’m finally ok with that. I can do it all, just not all at once! I can say no, in my own way by managing expectations and understanding my priorities. If there’s guilt, then I just have to deal with it. Keeping all people happy all of the time is rather impossible, and I’ve actually realised a ‘yes habit’ can lead to your good intentions and time being taken for granted. Ouch.
I’ve learnt that saying ‘no’ is not necessarily selfish, and saying ‘yes’ to compromise and setting boundaries is wise. Offering a thoughtful ‘no’ will give you greater peace and better position you to support others in the long run.
How do you see it? Share in the comments below or find me on social media.
Easy commute? Not possible, you might say. I would agree, living in London, but had to find a way to make my mornings better.
Mindfulness is the key, but I’ve experimented with a few things that might help you too.
7 ways to have a mindful easy commute
I tweet, write, talk about and certainly practise mindfulness and meditation, but in my current state of busyness, time easily escapes me. Consequently I’ve wondered about ways to enjoy a more mindful commute to work because that’s when I have time.
It makes a huge difference to my day taking time out to breathe and let myself enjoy a peaceful space free of the pressures of the world or worries of my to-do list. This daily activity keeps me calmer and less reactive, particularly if I’m in the middle of a stressful situation or I’m tired and in need of a rejuvenating break away.
I really notice when I’m not in this flow and sometimes – lately often – I run out of time in the morning to get into this sacred and important space (twenty minutes is my preferred time frame for meditation, although if I can spare it on a day off, thirty or forty is bliss).
As much as I intend to take the time out, something always comes up, and before I know it I need to run to the bus to make it to work on time.
I have about half an hour on the bus to work, and it’s been on my mind for a while to test ways I can prepare for the day ahead during this commute.
I’ve been really trying to stay reflective, intentional and positive this year, and in this spirit I decided last week to not only test mindful options on the commute, but to document them too.
In London, the commute is many things, not easy – 99 per cent of them are not peaceful!
There’s a vast range of annoying noise, gross smells, agitated people, and stress … lots of it. Fortunately I found a way to avoid the Victoria line on my morning commute, but the bus can be slow and feature some ‘interesting’ characters.
Here’s what I discovered about the pursuit of a mindful commute, and they are tips you can take with you, whether you’re on a busy bus or train; possibly in the car, but be mindful of paying attention to road rules!
How to have a mindful commute – my week’s diary
Monday I was off to a good start with a seat all to myself on the bus!
I felt like a little inspiration was in order so I opened Soundcloud and found some playlists other users had compiled with audio by Hayhouse authors like Dr. Wayne Dyer. I chose a piece that would take me about 18 minutes along into my journey, and despite background noise and chatter, I was mostly able to focus on his workshop.
In this snippet of audio he discussed the concept of simply ‘being aware’, so after the clip ended, I practised sitting in my chair and observing my surroundings – the trees, cars and passing foot traffic; sounds and smells.
I found ‘simply observing’ was a really interesting, if not calming experience that kept me entirely present without worry or judgement.
During that day at work, for the first time in a long time, I caught myself in the act of not breathing properly.
I’ve been extremely busy lately and I realised – possibly because of my mindful commute activity – that half the time I’m sitting at my desk not breathing properly! I bet I’m not the only one.
Now, I’m conscious to stop what I’m doing and take some deep breaths – even now as I type. I’m sure this is a step in the right direction and it helps with everything from concentration to digestion and a reduction in stress levels.
On Tuesday for some reason I felt like I wanted to listen to music – the kind that gets a little party going in my head!
Now I don’t know what yogis think of dance music, but I love it. There’s nothing like a melodic dance track to get me in good spirits. I decided to go with this but instead of thinking about things while streaming my favourite tracks, I just listened.
Fortunate enough to have a seat on the bus again, I gently closed my eyes and spent the best parts of the music focusing only on the intricate production and cool melodies that some very clever producers had published.
This might very well be the most outrageous and certainly nontraditional way of meditating, but I was focused on my breath and only the sound, and I felt happier for the experience.
Day two was off to a bright start.
Doom and gloom Wednesday hit – it’s been so dull and grey here lately.
Oh, cold. I forgot to mention that! Cold, even for me who quite likes winter (it’s so much better than sweating)!
I wasn’t sure what to try this morning and on auto-pilot turned back to something I’ve tried to avoid as much as possible, that is, spending my entire commute on social media.
Although I am inspired by Instagram and engage with interest groups on Facebook and Twitter, I work in front of a screen all day and know for the good of my sanity that I need to break from it when I can.
On this day I didn’t get a seat.
It was a little bit crowded too, but I managed to find a spot in a corner and a hand rail to keep me steady.
Something a yoga teacher taught me a couple of years ago sprung to mind; she said we often hold too much tension in the tops of our legs and into our hips. She taught us to stand steadily on two feet, about hip width distance apart, shoulders straight but relaxed, slight tone to the belly; and to soften the legs and thighs just a bit to reduce the tension. So, I found my posture and breathed through it.
Again I brought into the activity my awareness consciousness from Monday; that is, simply being aware of what was going on around me – observing without judgement or concern.
It worked in bouts – with people getting on and off and noisy school kids evidently enthusiastic about the day ahead, I found this a bit tougher to get into. However, the focus on breathing did help to centre me and I felt like I was making up a little for not sitting down properly to meditate in the morning prior to the commute.
By Thursday I’m usually tired.
I’m naughty and forget to wrap up work on time most days which means I have less hours to unwind at home (yes, I like my work, and am grateful for it).
Feeling relatively unenthusiastic I decided to do something really simple on my mindful commute – experiment with ‘silence’.
That is, I didn’t pull my phone out to listen to music or watch YouTube.
I didn’t read or even write notes or my intentions for the day.
Actually, I intentionally sought out silence.
Of course, I’m on a busy commuter bus with people, announcements, traffic and more surrounding me, but upon starting with a focus on my breath and relaxing the area in the middle of my brow (where your third eye is imagined), I sat and actually relished in silence created by, surprisingly, me.
On Friday I began as I would any other day – I’d actually chosen one of my favourite Gabby Bernstein lectures on developing intentions to listen to.
But, about five minutes into my mindful commute, my dad called.
He’s in Australia, so I take every chance I can to talk to both he and my mum, and as we chatted (albeit I was quieter than normal, so as not to be one of those noisy commuters) I realised that the simple practise of focusing solely on my conversation with him was a mindful act in itself and a positive experience for both of us.
Enjoying a mindful commute when the time calls for it, means an otherwise challenging part of the day has the potential to become a personal and helpful journey in itself!
What are your thoughts and tips though? Let me know in the comments below.
A couple of articles I found on how to have a mindful commute that you might find interesting too:
(and brighten someone’s day in five minutes or less!)
One of my ‘Friday jobs’ (as part of life working in internal communications) is to wander around our beautiful big central London building to visit all the different departments, update their staff notices, promote whatever’s going on (official business), and share some gossip (unofficial business).
When I returned to my desk after one such round recently, my boss told me that someone in another area, Ashley, had sent him a really nice email about me.
Ashley specifically emailed my boss to share that I represent my team in a positive way both in person and via phone and email. She made the comment that she thinks it’s important to highlight the good going on around us because it’s too easy to dwell on the negatives.
I share Ashley’s sentiment, and while I make a point to always genuinely thank or compliment friends and colleagues in my own way of generating kindness in the workplace, what struck me about her gesture was that she put herself out there and sent feedback to my manager.
That type of action is thoughtful and really matters. It didn’t just brighten my day, but my week which in all honesty had been long, tiring and reasonably stressful.
It got me thinking, what other ways could we each bring a little kindness into work?
4 ways to implement kindness in the workplace today
Thank you cards
I have a little stash of thank you cards at work and I hand write a note on one every now and then when I notice someone has gone out of their way for others.
Certainly, I’m no-one special at work – not a senior manager or anything – but that doesn’t matter to the recipient who is always grateful that someone noticed and cared about their efforts.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you
We are always so busy and stuck in our own deadlines that it’s easy to miss that others are in the same boat.
Being a little mindful and supportive can go a long way.
A hard-working friend of mine, Isabelle, was run down with a cold recently and she was really touched that a nurturing colleague, Emma, picked up some effervescent vitamin C for her while she was out on her lunch break.
They aren’t even in the same team, but Emma clocked that this could make a difference to Isabelle (who was also about to take a long flight to China to visit her sister), and she was right – this was a nice thing to do, at just the right time.
Similarly, two colleagues I work with this week noticed I seemed to be having a tough afternoon and promptly delivered chocolate to my desk. While I very much enjoyed eating the treats, their thoughtfulness cheered me up (thanks Caroline and Izzy!).
Start a gratitude initiative
We have staff noticeboards in all departments at work, and one of our jobs as internal communicators is to use these to build morale and engagement.
We’ve pinned pretty little cloth pouches (jewellery bags I found on eBay) to each board and filled these with coloured cards and pens; staff are encouraged to use these to pin notes on the boards. The messages can be about anything, including events, goods for sale, or praise for co-workers.
More specifically, I’ve pinned up A4 pages that go on the boards blank except for a heading: ‘Thank a colleague who you don’t usually work with who has made a positive difference to you’.
In some departments we’ve ended up with pages of notes from people who have shared messages of thanks (either including their names or anonymously).
When staff see someone’s thanked them in that public space it gives them a nice buzz, and generates wider feelings of happiness throughout the office.
This same concept can be applied using postcards, notes in your internal magazine or newsletters, and on intranet notices, digital thank you cards or conversation threads.
A few words go a long way
Finally, taking a lesson from Ashley’s kind gesture, it only takes a moment to email someone a genuine message of praise or gratitude.
Or, be proactive and let someone’s manager know an awesome job is being done – you might be surprised to know how little this happens!
In my experience people often assume things are a ‘given’; that gratitude or compliments are dished out freely (by someone else!). Often they are not.
Yet, countless human resources survey results have revealed that people are much happier and far more productive when they feel appreciated by managers as well as peers.
Imagine the difference that we would all experience at work if each of us took responsibility for implementing just one small kind action for someone else every week.
I’d love to hear about your tips, ideas and experiences around kindness in the workplace… Is it really possible to make an office happier, do you think?
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