I remember that one morning when I arrived at my desk, and my co-worker had just delivered a Starbucks “Awake” tea next to my keyboard because she had picked up a coffee for herself on the way to work. It was not a special occasion. I can’t remember if it had been a rough week or a great one. I just remember feeling cared for and appreciated. Someone in my office had thought of ME on their way to work! That particular random act of kindness happened more than 15 years ago, and I still remember it.

It’s a great feeling to be appreciated by your supervisor, but there is something extra special about feeling valued by teammates. So, in my curiosity to find out what small gestures make a big impact in our industry among co-workers, I posed the question on LinkedIn and Facebook:

“What’s the nicest thing a co-worker did to help you at work?”

Here were some of the wonderful things you have done for each other.

  • “My old boss made me a binder full of things step by step screenshots with notes on how to do daily duties. Move-ins, move-outs, deposits, pull reports, pay bills, add bills, etc. I still have it and pull it out from time to time.” – G.G.
  • “Maintenance gave information and applications to people waiting for me, knowing I was swamped and was the only one on-site that day in the office. It meant a lot to me that he stopped and took his time to connect with the prospect and try to be helpful.” – J.A.
  • “Getting help with phone call volume and actually taking turns answering the phone. Every phone call can turn into a big to-do, so it’s nice when someone splits phone call volume or helps with tours because back-to-back tours can be draining.” – Y.V.
  • “One act of kindness recently is just asking me if I want lunch. I too often forget to eat, and my team is always looking out for me with good food. That means so much!” – W.S.
  • “Brought me coffee, answered the phone when I was melting down, walked my move-ins, and coached me through the math on leasing reports!” – M.O.
  • “Hand-written cards…. for a number of instances….birthdays, get well soon, work-anniversary, oh look a squirrel, it’s prime time wine time, tacos are life, you name it! In the day and age where it’s easy to send a FB message or a text, a hand-written card goes the extra mile and says so much!” – T.T.
  • And then there are the stories of going above and beyond that really made an impact!
  • “My best friend unexpectedly passed away. The funeral was on a Saturday and it was only me and a manager, so I was expected to work. No one from a sister property could cover for me. The manager at a sister property had a BRAND NEW (even new to the industry) leasing consultant and she split the day between properties so I could leave in time for the funeral.” – T.W.
  • “I slipped on black ice & broke both bones in my leg, and my RM came to the ER to just sit with me ~~ even though she had a meeting that she was supposed to be attending. Her actions let me know I was valued and much more that an employee id! That touched my heart!” – G.H.

Amy Kosnikowski Dilisio expressed the universal thread weaving these acts of kindness together so perfectly: “The common theme is that fellow team members know each other as people and who they are, what makes them soar, and how to boost spirits when low. When others take the time to know your story, your family, and motivators it makes “work” not work but supportive colleagues partnering together and doing what they love.”

According to our Q2 2021 Swift Bunny Employee Engagement Index, 92% of multifamily employees agree they have a good working relationship with their peers and co-workers! We enjoy and appreciate the people we work with, and it shows. So, if you’re looking for ways to show a team member that you appreciate them, and that you’re grateful they’re on your team, here are some tried and true ways of saying, “I see you, I appreciate you, and I’m here for you, too!”

  • Deliver their favorite coffee, tea, or energy drink to their desk or workstation for absolutely no reason at all.
  • Take over the phones for them for 30 minutes, so they can finish that report, eat their lunch, take that tour… whatever they need.
  • Prepare the keys and/or fobs needed for the upcoming move-in, so your maintenance team can wrap up something else on their to-do list.
  • Write a hand-written note to your boss, your co-worker, or your direct report complimenting them on how they handled a recent challenge or thanking them for helping you in a specific situation.
  • Bring in some home-baked cookies or pick up the local favorite donuts for the entire team. (Even if you’re not the boss!)
  • Make the copies, enter the service request, walk the vendor to the unit if you see your co-worker overwhelmed.
  • Compliment how your team member wowed a resident or prospect. Share what you specifically appreciated about what they did.
  • Thank your maintenance team member on how quickly they resolved an emergency situation.
  • Offer to pick up a lunch order for them when you’re running out to grab a bite.

Most of these ideas cost nothing more than time, and while no one has much extra time to spread around, the investment in these random acts of kindness will pay off for years to come.

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