Anyone remember the film Pay it Forward with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment? Its premise revolved around a junior high school teacher who gave his class an assignment to think of an idea to improve the world for the better and to, most importantly, put it into action. This was the first time I remember hearing the phrase, and it has really stuck with me. Small acts of kindness, aside from the obvious benefit of brightening someone else’s day, can also be a significant mood booster for the giver and influences his or her overall state of happiness. When it comes to the workplace, the ripple effect of paying it forward can help create a more positive company culture and work environment, and the best part is – it can be really simple to spread! Here are 6 of my favorite ways to be kind and “pay it forward” in the office:

Pop-Open Cards

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Hands down my new favorites, I recently stumbled upon these at a local stationery store during one of my weekend road trips. Each of these small notes are wrapped individually, so it’s easy to pay it forward by choosing the best-suited message for a coworker and leaving it on his desk for daily motivation. I started with the Smile and Thanks sets, but Compendium, Inc. makes a whole host of different themed sets, some of which include: Carpe Diem, Cheers, Believe, Be Happy, and Dream.

Inspirational “Just Because” Notes

Dove chocolate wrappers can serve as an inspirational "just because" note to a coworker

Dove® Chocolate Wrappers come in at a close second and are scattered all over my fridge. The chocolate inside is an obvious added bonus as well. Dropping off a few treats or that one perfect saying is an exceptionally easy way to brighten a fellow coworker’s day. Fortune cookie takeaways and simple Post-it® notes (paired with your favorite Sharpie®, of course) also work perfectly well.

Caffeine Run

surprise your coworkers with a coffee run

Such a simple way to start someone else’s day off right. Bonus points if you know his/her favorite. Break out that gold card & earn those stars!

Mail Time

Surprise packages can brighten someone's day

I never feel more accomplished than when I’m walking out of the post office on a Saturday morning, having just purchased a new sheet of stamps with a successful mailing to start off the day (personal victory if this has miraculously occurred before noon). The best surprise package that I’ve received included my go-to desk accessories that now serve as quick mood boosters/inspiration when needed.

Taking a Break

Take a break with coworkers to get to know them

Aside from the obvious perk of recharging your work batteries for a bit during the middle of the day – this is prime social hour. Whether it’s getting to know the new employee who started last week, scheduling group outings with the rest of the team, or getting together with your closest work friend, this is a great opportunity to spend quality time with other’s and make someone else’s day. Showcased here is our fabulous HON Commons area during peak hours.

Kudos Emails

Send a kudos email to make someone's day

This is something I’m constantly trying to do more often and have been finding it works best for me if I dedicate a few minutes on a Friday afternoon or over the weekend – an easy way to make sure others’ work is being noticed and that my teammates feel appreciated. Particularly in Field Sales, we rely heavily on the tools, resources, and help provided from other teams throughout the organization.

How are you paying it forward at work?

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