Published on September 23, 2020
This week is the international week of happiness at work, and when I began the research for writing this blog I became confused with the message that I wanted to convey. By that I mean, we all know that there are plenty of reasons, in the middle of a global pandemic, that would lend itself to the fact that people, in general, may not be happy at the moment.
I struggled with the notion of writing a blog that said, “hey everyone, let's just be happy!’ and for the content to not come across as condescending and relative to how people are actually feeling. No one likes it when someone is ramming positivity down their throats, especially when we are not in a great mood.
So to begin, I want to say that this is not a blog telling you to be happy, but instead, I aim to explore the emotions and psychology of happiness and to offer some advice to leaders and managers on their role to ensure that the workplace is a happy place to be.
As a leader or manager, we have a responsibility to ensure that our teams are happy at work. But why is it important? From a business perspective, in the book, “The Happiness Advantage” author Shawn Achor stated that a company with happy employees could increase their sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, which directly contribute toward building a high-performance work environment and improves the quality of life for all people involved with the work.
Makes perfect sense, right? Well, what about from an emotional intelligence perspective?
In a fundamental sense, workplace happiness comes when:
- We enjoy doing the tasks assigned to us
- We feel right about the people we are working with
- We are happy with the financial benefits we get from the job
- We have the scope of improving our existing skills
- We feel respected and acknowledged at work
Our employee engagement platform Vibe measures statements like we see above (and more) to assess the engagement, passion, empowerment and happiness of an organisation’s workforce. Most medium to large organisations will have a tool to measure engagement, but what we subsequently do with the data and those results post-survey is critical in terms of workplace culture, employee wellbeing and ensuring employees feel safe at work.
Workplace Happiness is trending… the most popular Instagram happy employees’ hashtags talk about productivity, fitness, employee experience, culture and health.
#happyemployees #employeeengagement #companyculture #hr #employeeappreciation #humanresources #employeewellness #corporatewellness #employee #corporateculture #employeeexperience #workplacewellness #productivity #happy #fitness #teamwork #wellness #employeebenefits #healthyemployees #office #workspace #employees #leadership #perksthatfit #business #officelife #wellnessatwork #performance #workplaceculture #bhfyp
So why has happiness so important at work?
Dr Tal Ben-Shahar is the co-founder of the Happiness Studies Academy, as well as the creator and instructor of the Certificate in Happiness Studies and the Happier School programs. Dr Tal taught Harvard University’s most popular course (in the Spring of 2006): a course on Positive Psychology; that is, he taught his students how to be happy. Part of the curriculum was to explore the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies on happiness. When scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives.
They got more than they bargained for.
After the 80 years of research, they asked the one question ‘what is the number 1 predictor of happiness”? They had millions of data points however what they found that it was relationships that mattered most; and it didn’t matter what kind (romantic, friends, extended family, professional). People who had deep meaningful, close relationships - were the happiest.
“Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.”
~Anthony J. D’Angelo
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health and happiness,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”
Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.
"Effective communication is at the heart of every successful relationship; Successful relationships are at the heart of every successful business”.
Relationship science is important to us at Laws of Attraction – the psychology of relationships is at the heart of everything we do. I asked our CEO, Simon Kevan, to elaborate on why relationships are so important to our brand ethos and our customer and product offering.
“20 years ago, I completed a psychology & management degree in Leeds. The course covered organisational change, mental health and relationships. The module that most interested me (and subsequently drove me to start the business 15 years later) was the science of interpersonal relationships - how they form, maintain, breakdown and how this can be applied to our happiness, mental health and wellbeing at work”
Happiness at work might sound ‘fluffy’ however we know that happy and engaged employees have a significant impact on the bottom line. Business is about people, and your reputation is built on how you treat people both inside and outside of the organisation. The research has shown that happy employees are more productive, more creative and innovative, they demonstrate higher levels of trust and lower levels of stress, they are passionate and are engaged with the future success of the organisation. Also, when people are happy at work, they are better husbands and wives, better friends and colleagues – in fact, the ripple out into the wider world means that YOUR happy employees can have a direct impact on the mood of the nation.
“Relationship skills are the most important ability in leadership”
There is definitely a shift and growing movement of companies and individuals who are seeing the value of workplace happiness. Come and talk to us so we can show you how to measure the happiness of your employees and how we can help maximise the good vibes and overcome the bad ones. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You could also check out our recent blog about mental awareness linking to suicide awareness week, we spoke about the importance of talking to our teams and peers, to check in on how they were feeling?
“The Happiness Advantage” author Shawn Achor