One Simple Act at Work Can Make the Day Better for All
Partners, supervisors, and all colleagues in the workplace play important roles in improving wellness and supporting healthy mental health practices. Coworkers and officemates can often be the first to notice that a person is experiencing mental health concerns and can be the first line of assistance. Not only is it acceptable but could be life changing to check in with your colleague and express care for them. If you notice a change in how colleague is behaving or are concerned about yourself or another, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and express support.
It is important to set the tone in the workplace for healthy expectations and practices. Encouraging time to rejuvenate after stressful cases, days, weeks cannot be emphasized enough. One simple step is to discourage the 24/7 workday and encourage personal time. When professionals have deliberate breaks from work-related stressors, they perform better.
It is also important, when making mental health a priority, to ensure the availability of resources is known and to encourage wellness practices with the same emphasis that physical health programs are supported. VJLAP is a resource available to all legal professionals experience concerns with their mental health or substance use and can assist in helping your colleague on their path or you on your own path to feeling better.
Here is a list from the ABA toolkit of many activities, some seemingly very small, that can make a big difference in your coworkers’ or colleagues’ mental health:
44 Acts of Kindness to Do for Your: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop
- Offer to help them with a difficult project or meet a tight deadline.
- Tell them why you appreciate them.
- Be a cheerleader for their ideas.
- Share your expertise with them.
- Do great work that’s ready to go and requires little more from them.
- Send them flowers.
- Bring their favorite kind of coffee from their favorite coffee shop.
- Assume their good intentions.
- Make sure they know why their work matters and how it benefits others.
- Admit to them when you’re wrong.
- Invite them to lunch.
- Put your phone away when you’re with them.
- Tell them thank you.
- Cheer them up after disappointments.
- Write, make, or buy something to provide encouragement when they’re experiencing difficulties.
- Praise them to others.
- Really be present and listen to them without interrupting.
- Learn something new about them.
- Look for opportunities to make helpful introductions.
- Celebrate their accomplishments.
- Help them before they ask.
- If they’re overwhelmed with personal or work challenges, ask if you can help in some way.
- Forward articles that may interest them.
- Allow them to help you.
- Pass along useful information.
- Buy them a book that you know they’ll love.
- Leave positive sticky notes on their computers.
- Scout for reasons to compliment them. Shoot for three people a day.
- Give them a “care package” when they’re preparing for trial, participating in a deal closing, etc.
- Send them greeting cards on holidays.
- Notice and note their progress on something important to them.
- Compliment a good presentation, high-quality meeting, and contribution on a call.
- When you open your inbox each day, make the first email you write a compliment, note of support or appreciation, or other positive jolt.
- Sneak into their offices and leave them candy or other treats.
- Get to know them as people, remember the details, and follow up on them.
- Don’t gossip or talk negatively about them.
- Make them laugh.
- Celebrate their birthdays by making them cards and a cake.
- If they blog or publish online, read, comment, circulate, and encourage others to do the same.
- Create a spreadsheet that includes their likes (e.g., simple things like favorite candy, favorite drink, favorite snack, etc.) and use it regularly
- Share credit with them.
- Learn and use their names.
- Start meetings by inviting them to share “what’s going well”?
- Be their “wing man.” Find out their strengths and accomplishments and share them with others at conferences, meetings, networking events, retreats, etc.
- There are resources available from the ABA for administrators and supervisors to promote wellness in the workplace. Available here.
- Information about employers helping to improve mental health and promoting wellness in the workplace. Available here.
- Tips for wellness at your workplace. Available here.
** The contents of this article are not intended for the purpose of diagnostic or medical/psychological care. Consultation with a medical or mental health professional is recommended if you are concerned about your well-being.