Smart, fast and kind. These are the words that One Smooth Stone uses to describe ourselves on our website. How do we apply those values in the workplace, though? We do so through our everyday actions, even when it comes to managing our office in Downers Grove, Illinois. For instance, in my role as senior administrative coordinator and unofficial One Smooth Stone house mom, I try to incorporate kindness in little, everyday ways. Here’s how:
Take Ownership of Kindness
To me, one of the big things about kindness comes down to taking an attitude of serving people so that they can do their jobs. One of my roles is to manage the travel schedules of our team, and we do travel a lot around here as we orchestrate events around the world. Before Stonies leave for business travel, I check to make sure their phones are set up for international service, and, of course, I make sure every arrangement is made to a T. Here’s where I perform a little act of kindness: when our team is on the road, I use Flight Aware to track the status of their flights. When a One Smooth Stone employee lands at another destination, I send a “Let me know if you need anything” text. On arriving home, Stonies receive “Welcome home” texts from me. I also track status of delayed flights and reach out to employees to see if I can do anything to make their lives more comfortable while they are stranded at an airport. Let’s face it: flight delays are never fun, and they cause stress. But delays are just a bit more bearable if you know someone back home is thinking of you.
Be a Good Neighbor
I think it’s important we extend kindness beyond our four walls. I make sure I’m always friendly and accessible to the vendors who deliver goods and services to our office, such as the heating and cooling maintenance workers or the people who clean the office. I inject kindness by going out of my way to remain in touch with them and to be friendly. If I am here on a weekend and I bump into one of the office cleaners, I sit down and talk with them. Sure, I could get home sooner on a Saturday if I just took care of my own needs and ignored the people who clean our bathrooms and floors. But being a good neighbor to others is part of our culture.
Being a good neighbor also means creating a pleasant first impression. I make sure our flowers out front are taken care of. And we have some beautiful crotons, purple angelonias and orange zinnias gracing our sidewalk. During the summer, when I’m out looking after the flowers, I get to know our neighbors better, too. We send a message that our office is a warm, welcoming place.
Be a Great Host
Being kind means being the best host you can be. We host a number of visitors in our headquarters, including, of course, clients. I like to figure out the personal tastes of repeat visitors and surprise them. If I know you like cookies, you might find some served with your catered lunch next time you visit us. If you have a favorite brand of bottled water, it’s yours! The key to being a host is to anticipate and serve without being asked.
Why Be Kind?
You can be a good office manager without going out of your way to be kind. So why make the effort? Well, being kind is not just nice, it also makes me more effective. People view me as being more credible and approachable when they see me proactively taking care of their needs. They know they can rely on me. I feel that people are not afraid to come to me for help. When I help them, they become more effective.
I was recently asked to work onsite at one of our client events. It’s not something I do normally because I need to be at our office. But why was I there? Because the client got to know me through office visits and trusted me. Kindness builds trust. It isn’t just what you do that matters — it’s how you do it.
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