We often think about ways to serve others in our home, in our church, or even in our city, but often we overlook our workplace. And it’s easy to do. After all, for many of us, it’s the one place we go to daily that we tolerate, but don’t exactly…love.
Some of us are so busy counting down the minutes and seconds until we are free to leave that we often forget that we are called to love and serve the people we are working alongside. While others of us remember that we’re called to love and serve them, but it’s just…well, they make it hard for us to want to love and serve them.
We all have different work environments and different ways we prefer to minister, but here are 8 ways various SingleRoots writers have found to serve others in their particular workplaces:
1. Deal with others fairly.
“Since I am a freelance designer and self-employed, one of the best ways for me to serve others in the workplace is by having integrity when working with clients. If I don’t deal with them with integrity, then I’m serving myself instead of them. Having something ready when I say I’m going to have something ready or not upcharging them just because I know their budget is much larger than another client’s are just a few examples.” —Libby Gifford
2. Show interest in co-workers’ lives outside of the workplace.
“I often find it worth noting that helping my coworkers rarely has to do with job responsibilities. Often times, it’s being willing to listen and show interest in their lives. Be sensitive to the needs they are going through personally, something I have to tell myself repeatedly. Ask about how their house is selling, how their husband is recovering from surgery, and even what they did on their vacation. Having someone interested in your life makes you feel loved, and that just might be what your coworker needs right now.” —Ben Morgan
“It isn’t that unique, but I always think of the old adage ‘You’re never fully dressed without a smile.’ So when I pass people in the hallway, I smile and greet them. 99% of the time, they smile back, even if their previous expression hadn’t been all happy.” —Amy Wilson
4. Be a sounding board for others.
“My workplace is marked primarily by employees who profess to be Christian, some more loud and proud than others. We also have some that are not Christians and, because of their experiences, have no desire to ever be associated with any. Quite a few have the impression that Christians are mostly either hokey and dull or eager to preach against sin while having plenty of indiscretions of their own. I try to serve my all my co-workers by simply being genuine, loving, and understanding. Whether someone is smoking in the parking lot, talking about the bars they’re going to hang out in all weekend, or consumed with office gossip and politics, I try to show them I’m an outlet that they can visit for wisdom and kindness rather than judgment and cliché Christian-speak. When I hang out with Christians, I do the exact same thing as well as encourage them through Biblical references. I’ve never used the words “I’m a Christian” around the office because of the negative connotation it’s developed for some, but people have referred to me as one because of my consistent actions and demeanor, which I think best serves everyone around me to draw them to Christ.” —W. Brandon Howard
5. Bake goodies for co-workers.
“There are many ways we can serve and care for people within the workplace. Far too often I think the focus is on the job function and not on the people around me. Hurried trips to the copy machine, and haphazard ‘hey-how-are-yous’ as you pass in the hallway are a hallmark too often in my own workplace, and we consider ourselves to be friendlier than most offices. Personally, I make it a point to bake for my coworkers. It’s not only a stress reliever for me, but it allows me to be intentional at certain points to bring a sweet moment in their day. I rotate between a couple of office favorites and often disguise it as me stress baking, when in reality we all work long hours to serve others without much regard for our own personal care. Offering a pause in an otherwise hectic day or week for a brownie or slice of cake and a laugh can make the difference in more than one person’s day.” —Sara Stacy
6. Encourage them.
“I say quick encouraging things, like when I walk by their door on the way somewhere. Anything to help lift them up. We work in a rough environment sometimes.” —Sundi Jo Graham
7. Learn what makes them different.
“As a chaplain I go around loving on people all the time, but those in my office – well, I try to treat them the way they want to be treated. Each person is different, and I try to approach them aware of how they like to be treated.” —Jeff Pate
8. Surprise them with something simple.
“When I was a teacher and considering ways to serve others on my campus, it was really important to me that the para-professional staff knew how much I appreciated their hard work. Much of what I did in the classroom was powered by secretaries and teachers’ aides who made the school run smoothly. Here in the South, we love our Sonic drinks—especially when it’s a thousand degrees outside and you work in a building with sweaty adolescents. I made it a point to memorize their favorite Sonic beverages and would often slip away during my conference period to pick up a few for the staff. Surprising co-workers with something as simple as a drink with crushed ice can do wonders for morale.” —Jessica Bufkin
What ways to serve others have you found in your workplace?