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The Importance Of Happiness In The Workplace

Why it’s important for employees to be happy in the workplace and exactly how to get started today.

A happy and successful workplace is full of engaged employees that actually enjoy coming to work, doing their job and being surrounded by their team.

On the flip side, a boring and struggling workplace is where employees are dragging themselves out of bed to get to work; when they’re having sick days because they can’t be bothered to go to work… And when they are at work, they spend the entire time counting down the hours until they can go home.

So before we carry on, which category do you and your team fall into?

The current state of play

The average person describes the workplace as a mundane place, but it pays the bills. When asked what happiness means to them they say that it’s when they feel good, when they earn extra money or when they’re not working.

So many of us think that happiness is a result of success. That happiness comes when we get married, when we buy the house, when we get a pay rise or when we go on that holiday. So many people are living their life on a deferred payment plan. They do not live or enjoy life now but keep waiting for something better in the future. Yet in truth as Wayne Dwyer was once quoted saying: “Happiness is something that you bring to life”.

See also Podcast: How to get happy now, with Carla Simpson

happy at work

Happiness at work research & statistics tell us that the average person will work over 900,000 hours during their life. Yet so many companies are creating a culture that is boring, stressful, unhealthy and painful. As a result:

  • 80% of the population dread going to work as they are not fulfilled by what they do.
  • 25% of the population are on anti-depressants
  • 70% of the population are on sleeping pills
  • The world health organisation has said that the leading cause of death by 2020 in Australia will be mental illness.

This is not the kind of person you want dealing with your customers and filtrating their energy in your business.

See also How to de-stress at work with mindfulness

how to create healthy culture

The link between employee satisfaction & profit

To win customer’s hearts, an organisation needs engaged employees who actively transmit their enthusiasm and love for their job, to the customers.

It’s proven that there is a BIG link between delighted customers and higher profit. It’s very simple: A happy worker is a productive worker and happy employees do a better job.

Given that a happy worker really does means a more productive worker, we must cultivate a happy workplace.

I stopped and asked myself these questions to measure happiness at work:

  • If I was working for a boss or manager who stopped and chatted to me about my family and my life would that make me feel special? Yes, I think it would.
  • If I had a boss who took me and the team out every month for a dinner or a social night and we didn’t talk about work but we just chatted and bonded, would I build a better relationship with my team and would I be more likely to not let other team members down?  I think so.
  • If I had a boss who gave me days to work at home, so I could also spend time with kids or family would I appreciate this? Yes, for sure.
  • If I felt a close connection to my team mates, would I be more likely to show up and actually be productive? For sure.

The culture of happiness

We can make our employees happy & productive at the workplace by creating a fun, engaging and healthy culture.

But here’s the thing. Culture cannot be forced or fake. It must be genuine and come from within each person. Happiness is not something that happens to you, it is something that you determine, within.

Daily life whether at work or not, is a mixture of highs and lows and not every day is going to be 100% amazing. But we do have a choice as to whether we take a grumpy pessimistic outlook and approach, or an optimistic and happy one. This all starts at the head of the business.

See also How to balance work, fun & family life, with Jessica Nazarali

leadership in the workplace

Leaders must embody a cheerful and optimistic personality. They/you need to engage with employees, even if it starts with a smile or a friendly hello as the staff come in the door. A leader who aims to nurture employee happiness must develop operating systems and a culture that reinforces this.

Defining happiness at work

Research shows us that the main drivers of workplace happiness are:

  • Fairness – “I’m happy when I am treated fairly”
  • Being valued – “I’m happy as long as I feel the organisation values me and is committed to me as an employee”
  • Trust – “I have to feel trusted by my boss and have a good working relationship with him/her”
  • Meaning – “I understand the aims of my organisation and the role I play in helping achieve this”
  • Positive emotion – “I experience positive feelings at work”
  • Work engagement – “I like work that engages my attention and I find challenging.”
  • Rewarding relationships – “I feel a sense of contentment when I have a good relationships at work”
  • Sense of purpose – “I believe I am doing something worthwhile at work helping others.”
  • Leader influence – “My supervisor’s influence determines whether I like my work or not”
  • Work-life balance – “I am happy at work as long as it does not intrude into my personal life”
  • Holistic Approach – “My work gives me a sense of being and I don’t feel like a number”
  • Creativity – “My work provides me with creative opportunities, complex problems and challenging tasks”

How to cultivate authentic happiness in your business

Here are a few ideas that I’ve implemented into my own business, to tick the above boxes:

  • Staff nights and days out – picnics, adventures, social nights and work lunches.
  • Gratitude journal – each shift staff write what they’re grateful for about work that day.
  • Healthy living – we promote healthy living and a mindfulness practice.
  • Quote of the week – a team member picks a quote that we place somewhere visible to read each day.
  • Team goal setting and self development days – help staff to develop skills not only for work but also for life.
  • Smile – we try enforcing a habit of smiling at least 3 times a day. Have a smile ambassador on duty who is employed to create a smiling, happy culture can work a treat.

See also 5 minutes with Carla Maree, Trailblazer of Authentic Happiness

The list is endless of what a workplace can do to create a culture shift.

Mother Teresa was quoted once saying that one of the greatest diseases was “to be nobody to anybody.”

All of us strive to make our mark on the world and want to feel that our lives have meaning and are worthwhile. The way we spend our days while we’re here and the work we do, is a critical component of our legacy.

If we believe that our work has meaning and that we are valued, this encourages us to remain involved and to seek the next level of achievement. Not only that, but we’re 80% more likely to be happy outside work too.

Want help improving or maintaining the culture of happiness in your workplace? I’d love to help – whether that be in motivational speaking, workshops, hosting a yoga class or conducting my very own Happy Living System training days. To discuss tailored solutions, contact me at: gethappynow(at)carlamaree.com.au. 

P.S. Who do you know who could benefit from this article? Do you need to forward it to your boss? Go on, help us create a global culture of happiness by forwarding it to the person you know will benefit most.

Carla Simpson
Carla Simpson Motivational Speaker, Author & Coach

Carla's mission is to help others change the way they think so they can continually break boundaries and become the very best version of themselves. As well as speaking, Carla is a personal trainer at her own Anytime Fitness franchise, a certified yoga teacher at her own yoga school.

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