The Joy Cart

Group of diverse young volunteers looking at camera, holding card with lettering

During this recent surge in the pandemic, a family member was admitted to the hospital through the emergency room at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. It was busy. Hospital staff didn’t have enough rooms, so they were using a recovery area in order to treat patients who were COVID-19 negative.

I overheard a manager encouraging the nurses, letting them know there were pizzas and drinks available to them, and giving updates on the plan to get all the patients to their rooms. She was literally giving a play-by-play as she received information. Throughout the building, too, I noticed a staff member with a run-of-the-mill, plastic cart donned with decorations and various snacks and sweets making rounds. The sign: The Joy Cart — Thanks for all you do!

While the majority of the world has been looking at the medical profession differently through the lens of the pandemic, it was nice to see management, corporate or whatever you call the Mayo Clinic’s top brass recognize their staff, too.

As frontline workers face so many challenges — not just the overwhelming number of patients but supply chain issues, ever-changing guidance, staff shortages and political complications to their jobs — something like a cart of snacks can be ridiculed as trivial. While it’s easy to criticize free pizza as a mere Band-Aid, such gestures, if given honestly and paired with efforts to solve the much more complicated issues, can truly be a balm for a stressed-out workforce.

These acts of kindness do not cost a lot of time or money but the genuine smiles and reassurances from the nurses I witnessed showed how much they can pay off.

These actions aren’t limited to the medical profession. Every industry has hectic times when employees are stressed, times are rushed and deadlines are looming. Genuine, small acts of appreciation, from leadership to employees, can help alleviate some of that stress and remind employees they are valued. So, spread some kindness. Order lunch. Decorate your own Joy Cart. Your employees are worth it.

Tiffannie Bond is the public relations director at Imagine Communications and is a big fan of joy-ridden, random acts of kindness (especially when snacks are involved).

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