Archive for Happiness at work

Is happiness at work important?

Happiness at work is more important than you might think.  

More and more employers are starting to recognise the bottom-line benefits of having happy employees.  Enlightened bosses are investing in one-to-one happiness coaching, for themselves and for their staff, to positively prime their work-force for higher performance.

The old view was that if you work hard, you will be successful.  And once you are successful, then you will be happy.  But this doesn’t work: with each success we adjust to it, so happiness keeps getting pushed just over the horizon.

The science of positive psychology has demonstrated that things actually work the other way around – If you can find ways to be happy, then you will be more successful!  Happiness is the precursor to success, rather than the result of it.

Countless studies have now shown that happiness at work leads to higher performance at work, and in other areas of our lives – this is because positive people are more motivated, more efficient, more creative and more productive, which drives performance upwards.

Sadly the picture in many work places today is rather different, with studies showing that only 45% of workers are happy in their jobs.  And depression rates today are ten times higher than they were in the 1960s.

The cost of this unhappiness at work is not just about the emotional cost for the employees, but the financial cost for their employer – unhappy employees take more sick days, an average of 15 extra sick days a year.

Yet if we can inject some happiness at work, it makes such a difference!

Research shows that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay.

For example, one study found that doctors in a positive mood show almost 3 times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they come to an accurate diagnosis twice as fast.  Another study showed that optimistic sales people outsell their pessimistic counterparts by nearly 60%.

There are many things, big and small, that can be done within the work-place to increase employee happiness at work.  Some are things that the company can do; and some are things that the employee do.

Examples include: finding things to look forward to at work (perhaps by setting goals); meditation and exercise during lunch-hours; performing acts of kindness towards colleagues; infusing positivity into the surroundings; giving employees the chance to use their signature strengths; learning how to have more positive interactions with colleagues; encouraging self-belief; giving employees more responsibility and control…. the list goes on!

Studies have shown that our external circumstances predict only about 10% of our total happiness. That means that our happiness is 90% down to internal factors – what’s in our head.

So it is within the power of every employee, given support by their employer, to create their own happiness at work (and across all aspects of their lives) for themselves.

There is much we can all do (with help) to work on our internal circumstances at work: for example we can change our thoughts at work, feelings about work and the way that we behave at work.

What could you do differently at work, to feel happier there?

How could you think differently about work, to feel happier there?

If you are the boss, what could you do differently, for your employees, to help them create more personal happiness at work?

Good luck!

And, tell me what you think – share what you have done to create more happiness at work, perhaps for yourself, or for others – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.

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