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Workplace Kindness Week

Similar to a Secret Santa, internal organization staff randomly choose a colleague to shower with kindnesses over the course of a week.

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Before Workplace Kindness Week begins, a volunteer coordinator for the activity communicates the idea to the organization and asks interested internal staff to opt in. The activity is entirely voluntary, so not everyone has to participate. Once the list of internal participants has been confirmed, these staff gather on Day 1 to randomly pick names out of a hat (or bag get the idea). The name you choose will be the recipient of your kindnesses for the week. Depending on the organization, you may not know this person very well. So one of the fun parts of Workplace Kindness Week is cleverly trying to learn about your "gratitude partner". This may involve checking out their office space, or asking their friends and colleagues about their interests/likes. Once you have some ideas for how to express appreciation for your "gratitude partner", you have the added fun of figuring out how to deliver your gifts, kindnesses, messages of gratitude, etc. without them finding out it was you. You might elect to ask another colleague to deliver your kindness for you. Or wait until your "gratitude partner" leaves their desk for a meeting. Whatever the plan, your "gratitude partner" will keep finding wonderful gifts and messages in their office or other locations throughout the week. They'll even start to look forward to the next one, which is a great feeling. At the end of Workplace Kindness Week (Day 7), all of the internal participants will gather again. They'll each take turns going around the room guessing who they think their "gratitude partner" was. It is fun to hear the guesses and this part of the activity helps to spread the feeling of gratitude across the organization. Finally, everyone discloses who their true "gratitude partner" was and those colleagues get to personally thank each other. Workplace Kindness Week is a great way to bring teams and colleagues together, and appreciate one another as people and as work colleagues.

Idea Title

Workplace Kindness Week

How the Idea will inspire the experience and expression of gratitude within an organization.

Internal organization staff can opt into an activity that encourages them to think about their work colleagues as people and get to know them in a different way. By voluntarily participating, staff will cultivate genuine feelings of gratitude, but because the activity is sanctioned by their organization management, staff will also feel able to give themselves time to explore ideas around gratitude.

Who are you innovating for?

Internal organization staff, including managers and executives.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

This activity is ideal for workplaces of 10 to 60 people.

How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?

Workplace Kindness Week should be communicated by management, with a designated staff member taking the lead on coordinating the activity.

What obstacles, if any, do you foresee in implementing this Idea, and how would they be overcome?

I do not foresee any obstacles. Some internal staff may not opt into the activity, but that is fine and should be anticipated.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

A pilot Workplace Kindness Week should be implemented, with pre- and post-feedback recorded to understand how the activity can be improved in the future.

What immediate next steps will you take if you receive an implementation grant.

We will discuss the idea internally among our Gratitude Committee and set a timeline and roles for implementing the pilot Workplace Kindness Week.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

This idea started at a local government department within the City and County of San Francisco. They have been coordinating a Workplace Kindness Week for the last few years.

Tell us about yourself

Mike King, Manager of Program Evaluation Benjamin McCloskey, Deputy Director of Finance and Administration Malik Looper, Senior Community Development Specialist Sarah Nusser, Senior Project Manager Lisa Motoyama Michael Palmer

Where are you / your team located?

San Francisco, CA in the western United States

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Local City government

Company / Organization Name

City and County of San Francisco, Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development


Tell us about your experience

Public policy and public services grant-making. No experience in the gratitude field.


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Thanks for posting this!

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