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It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

Steph Milledge, Senior People Manager
Posted in: Culture, Opinion

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week, and as we spend the week sending notes of gratitude around the office and making an effort to smile at strangers, I can’t help but think about the way that our relationship with Love has changed over the years. In a world where technology is seeping into every aspect of our lives and we’re busier than ever, what does ‘love’ mean to different people? And what can we all do to spread the love a little bit more?

As human beings we’re constantly, and often sub-consciously, seeking love, approval and appreciation from others. But as the world evolves and daily life become more complex, so does the journey of love.

As new technologies evolve and step into the ‘love’ arena, we’re able to gain likes, appreciation & approval at the touch of a button; we’re even able to find that special someone with a few doctored photos and a quick swipe. Technology is well underway in its mission to outsmart the human brain, infiltrating our daily lives and changing the way we look for, and indeed show, love. In theory, it’s easier to show ‘love’ than ever, but is this ‘always on’ connectivity doing more harm than good?

While most people from Gen Z embrace and use social media, a  study showcased in PR week claims that “34% of Gen Z say they’re permanently quitting social media and 64% are taking a break”  due to it making them feel sad, anxious, depressed and, ultimately, unhappy. It seems we’re losing the love for these platforms and, more worryingly, for ourselves. But where do we find love & happiness nowadays if not through Instagram?

The average person spends more than 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, yet the word ‘love’ is often missing from the workplace.  It’s a taboo subject that causes a Mexican wave of cringes as the annual office Valentines Email circulates. I ask myself, “why though?”

Harvard Business Review posted a study which states that “Employees who feel love perform better” – if that’s not a reason to start thinking about your business’ emotional culture, then what is? Increasingly, businesses are focusing on improving the ‘wellbeing’ of their staff; the introduction of flexible working, breakout spaces, weekly yoga sessions and company perks all encourage employees to slow down and de-stress, but what about just showing each other a bit more love and appreciation?

At Brandwidth, we understand the importance of fostering an environment where staff feel safe to show their emotions and are empowered to share their opinions and feelings. We’ve invested in ongoing technology that practices ‘good love’, such as a platform which allows us to gather feedback from our employees around what makes them happy, what we’re doing well and the things which perhaps aren’t that great, so we can action positive change.  We’ve also developed our own app which allows us to show how we’re feeling each day as individuals, but also gives a wider insight into the overall mood of the office.

But let’s forget about tech for a minute and get back to real-life (sorry, Instagram). Gadgets and digital solutions aside, we’re currently using our social team, dubbed ‘Joy Division’, to embrace social connection and wellbeing. With Valentine’s Day just gone & Random Acts of Kindness Week in full flow, we’re encouraging employees to show love and kindness to each other, and to themselves, through a number of reward & recognition challenges and treats.

These include an office post box where notes of thanks or gratitude can be sent to each other, a donation station for food, clothes and unwanted gifts to be taken to those less fortunate, a self-kindness assessment and a ‘no-phones-allowed-love-lunch’, where we’ll be stepping away from our desks for an hour of conversation and snack sharing. There’s plenty of ways to show love and build a positive and thriving culture through emotion, and it only takes 30 seconds to say something kind.

So, next time you’re at work, step away from the digital clutch of your mobile phone and give someone some real-life love instead; make a colleague a random cuppa, chat to someone new, invite someone for lunch…you never know, you might just make someone’s day!

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