As a college student working two on-campus jobs, it is safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of experience when it comes to workplace habits. One factor that I’ve noticed, and am truly grateful for, is empathy being incorporated in both of these jobs’ work culture. I’ve had jobs before entering college, and know that empathy, despite being a simple concept, is hard to practice in a workplace. However, I am a strong advocate for incorporating it into the workplace as there are endless benefits to doing so.
Firstly, incorporating empathy in the workplace allows colleagues to effectively communicate among each other with compassion and care. This can be done by having monthly mental health check-ins, or simply asking someone if they are okay with creating a culture of empathy in the workplace. By doing so, colleagues will feel like their work and presence is cared for. This will make them more motivated and driven to perform their best. In fact, a survey of 150 CEOs done by Harvard Business Review found that over 80% believed that empathy is important for businesses to succeed. This can be attributed to the fact that creating a culture of care and empathy in the workplace allows employees to be more open to collaborating effectively and passionately with each other.
Also, incorporating empathy in the workplace allows colleagues to feel like they can express themselves openly. If one is having a bad day either mentally or physically, they might think of just calling in sick without truly explaining what was happening in their lives. However, in a workplace that actively practices a culture of empathy, colleagues would feel more open to confide in the leadership team about the struggles they were facing. This honesty that is established in the workplace due to the culture of empathy allows employees to feel less stressed, making their job much more enjoyable.
For me personally, one of my jobs has weekly meetings where we start off by asking how our week has been. What might seem like a simple question can truly go a long way as it opens up a dialogue of communication between colleagues. I’ve been able to openly say I have a busy week ahead, to which my other colleagues offer to cover my shifts. This allows me to be able to work to the best of my potential and if I don’t have the necessary bandwidth to do so, someone else would be willing to step in. With this, I’ve felt more respected and valued as our culture of empathy emphasizes on ensuring we are mentally and physically okay.
These positive traits associated with incorporating empathy in the workplace will definitely improve relationships, develop communication skills, and increase productivity among colleagues. With work burnout increasing in workplaces, it is important for a culture of empathy to be actively present in workplaces so that employees feel comfortable expressing and establishing work boundaries. By doing so, one can successfully maintain a healthy work-life balance.