Happiness is an emotion, a sense of well-being that comes when we feel good about the work we do when we feel involved in the ‘professional commitment’. 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.
Happiness at work is not the sum of proper investment and good returns; it is more than that. Individual factors like personality traits, level of perception, underlying psychological stressors, and emotional intelligence influence the degree to which we feel comfortable in a professional situation. 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.
Why Workplace Happiness Matters
Being happy is the first step to anything that we want to do successfully. Going to the office, mechanically performing all the duties assigned, and coming home to spend the rest of the day with a drink in hand and the TV in front is an ideal picture of an unhappy life. A happy worker will get to the office on time because he respects his punctuality and will perform all the daily tasks because he enjoys doing it. He will work out of love, not out of compulsion.
- Happiness Multiplies Success
Happiness at work can spread like fire. Employees who feel pleasure in doing their work form a great example to others who are less motivated. For example, when a team leader is happy with his position and work, he can influence his team with more positivity and maintain great functionality in the group. Happiness in the workplace is directly correlational to increased productivity and better group performance at work.
- Happiness Builds Positivity
A troubled mind can be the storehouse of negative contemplations. When we work out of compulsion and don’t feel passionate about the contribution we make to the organisation’s success, our mind starts wearing. We become stressed, lose focus, and indulge self-deprecating thoughts like “I have to quit”, “I cannot take it anymore”, “I am not worth it”, etc. On the contrary, a professional who has strong positive feelings about his job will undoubtedly be more enthusiastic and focus on building himself. Rather than focusing on the problems, he would look into ways of solving it.
- Happiness Reduces Stress
Annie Mckee, an International Leadership advisor, and writer, in one of her publications in the Harvard Business Review, mentioned that when employees are unhappy, their brain starts to disconnect from the positive emotions, and damages their power of creative thinking and reasoning. She further said in her article on the link between our thoughts, feelings, and actions. If any of these breaks down, it is sure to hamper the others. If we feel happy in the 8 hours that we spend at work, if some how we can hit the strings of positivity that will keep us uplifted, it can remarkably improve our responses to stress and redirect our focus to the positive aspects of the work life.
- Happiness at Work Means a Healthy Life
If we allow the work stress and disappointments to enter into our personal space, there is no way that we can get rid of them. Successful professionals who can optimise their work are less likely to suffer from hypertension, cardiac arrests, substance abuse, and other stress-related disorders. When we are happy from inside, we get that power to fight diseases and the will to recover and get back on track. Remaining physically or mentally sick can bring unprecedented hurdles even at work. We lose the energy to give it our best shot, become less focused on work and more focused on the woes, and consequently, kill our productive soul. Not just that, happiness at work also makes us less prone to work-related stress and burdens.
- Happiness at Work Increases Likeability
We all like to stay around people who have a positive attitude and look content with themselves. In a happy state of mind, people are more innovative and inspired. They are willing to improve their existing skills and contribute toward creating a fun and creative performance culture at work. Finding happiness in work helps in building strong interpersonal relationships at work and encourages people to work together for the common welfare of the organisation they are serving. It is the backbone for innovation, loyalty, responsibility, and success. Happy workers can create a pleasant environment at work that is easy for others to cope in, and the more people get into it, the better the team grows.
10 Tips for Finding Real Happiness at Work
Happiness altogether is a highly subjective experience. In a study conducted by Fowler and Christakis (2008) it was found that individuals are likely to feel happier when they have other happy people around them. Finding happiness at work is not always related to actions and cognitions related to the work itself. It is associated with many other correlates like work environment, personality traits, interpersonal connections, stress management skills, and the list goes on. Here are ten simple ways that can help us in rediscovering workplace happiness and sustain it for a long time:
- De-clutter your Workplace
The phrase “a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind” is perhaps correct. Getting creative with the workspace can enhance feelings of exhilaration and refresh the mind. It reinforces concentration and is a great way to feel good at work every day.
Mindfulness is not a buzzword, neither is it an overrated concept. The effects of mindful meditation are real and proven. Studies conducted in the Harvard Medical School and the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany have shown that people who practice mindfulness and meditate before or after working hours feel more connected to and more emotionally stable at work.
3. Work it Out
A 15-minute daily workout routine makes the body energetic and releases the toxins that cause the weariness. Any form of exercise – walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or anything else, is bound to bring more productivity at work, more energy to give it the best shot, and more fulfillment throughout the day.
4. Engage in Feedback Mechanisms
Decisive and immediate feedback are predictors of workplace happiness and job satisfaction. Studies have shown that employers or supervisors who regularly offer feedback and acknowledge efforts are more successful in having a happy team.
5. Reflect on One Task at a Time
Clifford Nass, a professor of psychology at the University of Stanford mentioned that multitasking ‘wastes more time’ and can be the reason of unhappiness among professionals at different levels. When juggling with various tasks at the same time, it is almost impossible to devote an equal amount of attention to each detail, thereby resulting in distractions. To avoid this, we can prioritise our to-do list and focus on dealing with the more important tasks first. Applications like AnyDo, Wunderlist, and Evernote has made this easier to accomplish.
6. Help a Colleague
Studies have shown that altruists in the workplace are more likely to feel satisfied and are happier at work (Moynihan, 2013). The level of happiness that we derive from helping others cannot be equated with anything else in the world. It gives a sense of empowerment, enhances wisdom, and makes us feel more connected to the organisation. Simple acts of kindness, expressions of gratitude, and offering support to colleagues in times of need can make us feel a lot better about ourselves and make us happier at work
7. Choose your Responses Wisely
Evidence has proved that individuals can voluntarily choose responses that can make them happy at work. Regularly practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and effective communication can ease the stress and help employees in progressing towards their goal (Boswell et al., 2005).
8. Value Yourself “Nothing can bring you peace, but yourself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kate White, former editor-in-chief of the Cosmopolitan, mentioned that work stress often makes us forget our real worth. A gentle reminder to self, a little throwback to the past achievements can work wonders in bringing back the happiness at the workplace. Happiness is sustained when we can step back and take a moment for appreciating ourselves.
9. Start Your Day on a Good Note
Take some moments each morning to collect your thoughts and plan your day ahead. Go for a walk, sip a hot coffee and create your goals for the day. A day that is started well is more likely to bring in more productivity and yield more fruits.
10. Adjust your Schedules
Effective communication is the key to happy work life. Happy professionals are always one step ahead in maintaining and following a flexible schedule. Prolonged working hours without breaks can take a toll on the brain and bring us down, thereby making way for unproductivity and distress.
Culled from The Nigerian Accountant. Vol. 52, No 1
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