Sunday is the International Day of Happiness, I’m not sure who decides these things but I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at happiness at work. For many people “happiness at work” will sound like an oxymoron, but it turns out there’s good research to demonstrate that happiness increases motivation and productivity. Shawn Achor talks about the “happiness advantage”, which significantly increases performance “your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.” Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer, has come up with five ways happiness is important at work one of the really cool things he cites is that relatively small actions can have a big impact.
5 Things to Make Work Happier
Here are five ways you can make your team happier as a manager, and the good news is you’ll be happier as well
- Team Purpose
According to Dan Pink’s research a sense of purpose builds a person’s motivation. Knowing how your work and your team’s work fits into the company’s goals helps you feel that your contribution is valuable.
- Help Someone
One way to make yourself happier is to help someone else; by sharing expertise, suggesting solutions, or sharing a tough task. Helping someone in your team provides a positive role model for others in your team, helps the person and will improve your happiness.
- Give Positive Feedback
Genuine, open, freely given positive feedback and appreciation is guaranteed to improve someone’s mood. I’ve written before on the importance of saying “thank you“, but I’m sure we’ve all experienced the mood-lifting effect of positive feedback from someone we trust.
- Team Jokes
Laughing together is a bond, a mood improver, and it can help your team be resilient in the face of challenges or crises. The best teams I’ve worked with have had this, with lots of the jokes relying on a particular brand of “geek humour”, which is why my farewell card from one job is a poster of memes.
- Share food
I happen to like baking, so have taken in cakes, muffins, biscuits to share in my team. Many teams have a tradition of bringing back food from exotic holidays (which is how I developed a taste for Turkish delight), and one team I worked with had a tradition of having a team lunch outside the office. Whatever suits your team, but nothing beats eating together as a metaphor for sharing and a move improver.
And as a bonus three ways to build your personal happiness this weekend;
- Practise Gratitude
Write down three good things that happened to you in the last week. If you can build this into a daily habit you’ll learn to see the positive things more easily, which builds your happiness.
- Perform a Random Act of Kindness
Helping others increases our own happiness, if you’re stuck for ideas there’s a website dedicated to kindness.
Twenty minutes of meditation a day gives rise to measurable changes in the brain, increases creativity and reduces anxiety. It’s a tough habit to build, but there are some apps to support you, start with fewer minutes and build up.
Happy International Day of Happiness everyone.