The “civilisation of love” is a concept that Pope St John Paul II expounded in his 1994 Letter to Families, in which he portrayed the self-sacrificial love of parents and spouses as the antidote to the rampant individualism of our times; still, the lessons from this document have far-reaching consequences that are not applicable just to the family. In 2007, his successor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI used the same concept as an exhortation to young adults to be witnesses to Christ through the life they lead. At the heart of it, is the Christian mission to change culture radically through loving as He first loved us.
A company culture by the people, for the people
Good Works has always been a bottom-up organisation when a lot of the conversation about business ethics in the past year has focused on top-down approaches. Different workplaces have different dynamics, and people involved in our organisation are in roles from entry-level to CEO and anything in between. We believe that we all have a part to play, whether we can influence the culture of a whole multinational business or just our immediate surroundings, and we believe that change adds up. Happy employees are more productive, so when companies put their people at the heart of all they do it’s a win for the bottom line as well.
There is no one-size-fits all formula, although a culture based on mutual respect is a good rule of thumb, and we know pizza motivates more than money (thanks to this research). Recognising shared values among cultures, and focusing on those as well as solidarity between colleagues rather than competition and individualism (as the cliché goes, “There is no i in team”) are key, with or without pizza.
Rediscover work-life balance
We understand if you are in a position where a drastic change to your working hours is not on the table, but there are many ways to make small changes to our hustle culture and find true rest, even if one minute at a time. It can be something as small as not taking work home with us if there is no real need, or leaving the phone behind when buying our lunch instead of getting a few emails dealt with in the queue, or even just keeping the phone out of the bedroom and getting a good night’s sleep. They may appear like insignificant changes of little impact, and changes that have little to do with loving others, but the research on the impact of tiredness on work performance is extensive, and so is the one linking tiredness and being cranky, which makes being with others not that pleasant for them. Love your neighbour, have some rest (we speak from experience!).
Volunteer to do something for colleagues
One way to love our colleagues and build a civilisation of love in the workplace is to volunteer to do something for someone else, without expecting recognition (although it’s always nice to get it, and we should always be mindful to recognise when someone does something for us). It can be something as small as a round of coffees for your team whether you’re the intern or the boss, or as big as picking up the slack of a project that is running out of time for someone who had an emergency (or someone who didn’t have an emergency, your call). Small acts done with great love are as impactful as greater acts, and it’s all about being more mindful of others and their needs. What’s even better, is that often you would inspire others to do the same, creating a wide-reaching ripple effect from your tiny pebble.
Once you begin to work in a way that is oriented to the other, and where healthy ambition never comes at the expense of the greater good, you will find more and more little ways to love the people you spend the best part of your day with, day in day out, as well as the customers, clients, patients etc that you work for. Building the civilisation of love is a work in progress, and the journey is as important as the destination.