Happiness in the workplace sounds a bit fluffy, doesn’t it? More and more frequently, studies are being carried out and proving that there is a direct correlation between performance, productivity, and happiness in the workplace. A recent study by the University of Warwick showed that a happy workforce increased productivity by 12% (Prof Andrew Oswald).

For many years, organisations have focussed on creating a culture that employees can thrive in, yet when a company grows, pivots, or goes through an acquisition or merger, this culture is then lost or at the very least, damaged. What if we could implement a culture, a wellbeing strategy that is more robust? What if the answer was much simpler and more subtle?

What if we focus on happiness for employees daily? What if we could pass the onus of happiness back to the employee, to realise that they can control their own happiness rather than blame their job or the company as the source of their unhappiness?

Forward-thinking companies like Google were one of the first to hire a Chief Happiness Officer, to help to spread positivity and dedicate time and effort to help employees do this for themselves. Results showed that their sales increased as a company by 37% because of this.

How is happiness directly linked to performance?

Firstly, happiness is directly linked to a person’s motivation and can quickly spread across an office. For example, if a leader is happy in their work, they will indirectly influence their team, gain buy-in, and as a result, most will work harder to achieve their goals.

Unhappiness is also directly linked to underperformance. Unhappiness creates stress, which in turn leaves a person being unable to focus, feel overwhelmed, and can lead to them feeling resentful towards the organisation. An employee in this frame of mind will work slower, resent doing their duties, and won’t go above and beyond to help customers or the organisation.

Happiness increases likeability, which in turn, helps a team to work together more effectively – and of course, likeability helps to win new business – helps to retain it.

There are many more examples of how happiness in the workplace can help to improve the bottom line, but what are some of the simple steps that you can take as a business to increase the happiness of your workforce?

Look at the basic factors first: –

  • Working environment
  • Working Hours
  • Task designation
  • Difficulty level
  • Performance review process
  • Autonomy and freedom of roles

Once that you have established the basics, the real gamechanger is to understand that happiness is not the feeling that comes from getting or doing what we want. Instead, it is the ability to access an array of positive emotions like optimism and gratitude, and consciously choosing to implement them in life.

As humans, we are not happy all of the time, and obviously, there will be some level of stress associated with work. Yet with a shift in thinking, staff can bounce back quickly from negative stresses to a place of happiness and joy again, meaning that they can switch back on to a place of productivity much quicker.

Happiness is an inside job, a personal mission. Yes, the job role and the company a person works for can play a factor in overall happiness, however, the real change happens when a person can shift their mindset and their outlook.

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