We spend a lot of time with our coworkers. In fact, chances are you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your friends and family. So with that in mind, it's incredibly important that we have good relationships with them. Yes, it's important for career development and professional growth, but it's also important for your day-t0-day mental health. You want to get along with the people you spend the majority of your time with, and a new study has some insight into how.
According to a study recently published in the journal the Emotion, the secret sauce to getting along with your coworkers and making the work environment the best it can be for you and everyone else, is kindness. The study pinpointed acts of kindness, not just pleasantries, as what's needed to get those in the office to really like you. These acts of kindness need not big — bringing someone a drink, sending someone a thank-you note — but even so they will be enough for people to feel heard, and respected, and appreciated.
The way this was all studied was via the Madrid Coca Cola office where 88 employees filled out happiness surveys weekly, unaware that 19 people in their midst had been chosen to do random acts of kindness in the office. Those 19 were given a list of acts to choose from, so that they had some sense of autonomy over what they were doing (which ended up being an important factor as well).
Receivers of this kindness tended to pass it on, starting a whole chain of kindness within a workplace that, quite simply, made people like one another more and made the whole office environment infinitely better. This proves one that behavior is totally contagious; two that whole "kindness pass it on" campaign is 100 percent right; and three, the way to get that surly coworker on your side might be as easy as just being kind.