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Acts of Kindness Improve Staff Performance and Health, Says Study

Good will goes a long way in the workplace. While there’s evidence to suggest that toxic managers and employers could harm their staff member’s health, it’s worth looking at the other side of the coin. So, what happens when bosses surprise their team with random acts of kindness? 

That’s exactly what a group of researchers from Penn State University wanted to find out. In a study, published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, the team looked at how bus driver managers could improve the lives of their staff in China. The managers gave each of their employees a piece of fruit each day to see whether this small gesture would have an impact on their work and health. 

The researchers measured the impact that this act had in a number of ways. They looked at the staff members’ self-confidence in their ability to do their jobs as well as their overall health. The results showed that the staff had higher confidence levels and lower chances of depression after receiving the small gift of extra fruit. 

“An ultimate solution to improve worker performance and health could be big pay raises or reduced workloads, but when those solutions aren’t feasible, we found that even small offerings can make a big difference,” said Bu Zhong, associate professor of journalism at Penn State, in a review of the study.

“This research suggests that employees can be sensitive to any improvement at the workplace,” he continued in the statement. “Before an ultimate solution is possible, some small steps can make a difference—one apple at a time.”

With that in mind, some modern-day employers might wish to adapt their management style. Workplace wellness is a hot topic right now. Put simply, to ensure you have a hard-working team, you need to take care of each employee’s mental and physical health. While small acts of kindness won’t completely change a person’s life, they could have a significant impact on how they feel on a daily basis and, ultimately, how they perform.

3 Small Acts of Kindness to Consider

If you’re an employer and want to share some kindness with your team, you may be wondering how you can get started. Look no further! We have five smart ideas of how you could put a huge smile on each of your employee’s faces.

  1. Give your team fresh fruit

You don’t have to overcomplicate things here. Why not take some inspiration from the study and give your team some fresh fruit? Having a bowl of fruit in a communal area means that there are always healthy snacks available for your workers. Simple. 

  1. Reward employees’ successes

When one of your staff members does well in a project, let them know that you have noticed their hard work. You don’t necessarily need to give them a bonus or even a formal reward. Instead, you could send them a ‘thank you’ card or email. Showing that you appreciate people’s efforts could make a major difference to your team. 

  1. Entertain your team

When your team members have breaks and down-time, make sure that they have something fun to do. You can keep some games in the office or workplace, for example. Encouraging your employees to relax and recharge together will help bring them closer together as a team. Game of ping-pong, anybody?


Ensuring that your employees are happy and healthy in the workplace is a noble goal. As this recent research reveals, you don’t need to make massive changes to support your team’s needs. Why not try making some small improvements today?

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