Workplace Happiness

There’s been a lot of debate recently about the relevance of happiness at work: is it a fad, does it actually link with engagement levels and can it influence business productivity?

Firstly, it’s important to clarify what kind of happiness is being debated. This isn’t the quick-fix superficial kind associated with momentary amusement, pleasure or even ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ type attitudes, but the healthier kind that comes from deeper within and is associated with well-being and long-term fulfilment. The Greeks described this type of happiness as Eudaimonia.

The good news is that research is suggesting work and employment can indeed drive happiness and happiness can in turn shape the performance and productivity of organisations. De Neve and Ward’s studies into global Happiness at Work describe this as a ‘complex and dynamic relationship’. So how should small businesses be spreading the joy of happiness among their teams this Christmas? Unfortunately, there is no single magical formula or ‘off-the-shelf’ solution.

Simon-Thomas in her The Science of Happiness at Work series, suggests there are four key pillars to happiness: purpose, engagement, resilience and kindness. Using these as inspiration, I hope you will find the following list gives you and your people plenty of good ideas and seasonal cheer!

  • Aim to listen more than you talk, to keep staff engaged and motivated
  • Set a team-based challenge, possibly linked to helping a local charity
  • Promote flexible hours to help with seasonal preparations
  • Legitimise quality thinking time, downtime and creative time (device free)
  • Give individuals autonomy and empowerment to go forth and delight customers
  • Relax a few rules here and there, perhaps the dress code?
  • Encourage kindness such as five minute favours (rather than Secret Santa!)
  • Cultivate optimism and glass half full attitudes, through leading by example

Needless to say, you will need to adapt and flex these ideas to fit within the operational requirements and needs of your own people and business. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a happy and fulfilling time!

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