7 Ways to Improve Happiness at Work

Published on:

August 30, 2022

7 ways to improve happiness at work

The latest ‘Work Happiness Score' study from Indeed found that only one-third of UK workers are generally satisfied with their jobs. 

Almost one in four survey respondents said that being unhappy at work makes them unable to find enjoyment in other areas of their lives.

What are the happiest and unhappiest job sectors?

Workers in education are most likely to be happy, followed by those in aerospace and defense. Property workers are the unhappiest, followed by those in management and consulting and those in the automotive industry.

A fifth of workers are unhappy at work, and one in 10 (11%) start feeling unhappy less than six months into a new job.

Considering these stats, it's no wonder people feel overworked, stressed, and unhappy.

You'll spend 30 to 50 hours at work each week, so why not make it enjoyable? We'll be discussing seven ways to improve happiness at work!

What are the benefits of building a happy workplace?

A happy workplace is associated with improved health, increased creativity, and productivity.

Work environments with happy workers are more harmonious and positive. Moreover, such people put in more effort beyond their job descriptions and are more committed to their work.

The following are ten benefits of happiness at work for both employers and employees:

  • A higher level of productivity
  • Enhanced creativity
  • A better quality of life and improved health
  • Workplace stress is reduced
  • Motivated
  • A higher level of satisfaction at work
  • Reduction in turnover
  • A higher rate of retention
  • Workplace accidents are reduced
  • Cost-savings in health care

How important is it to build a happy workplace?

Employees' happiness is critical in determining their productivity and satisfaction at work. Furthermore, it enhances a company's image and helps it retain its employees for a long time. The importance of happiness at work cannot be overstated.

Despite this, the concept of happiness at work has only gained prominence in the last few decades. Prior to that, employers focused primarily on their businesses, trade relations, and profits.

In recent years, researchers have begun realizing the importance of employee happiness, and employers are also starting to pay attention.

Many institutions now offer courses on "happiness." Some of these courses, such as "The Science of Happiness" by EdX, teach people how to be happy at work and in their daily lives.

Thus, we need to ask why we don't correlate happiness with work.

As a part of our culture, we have been taught that we must support ourselves financially and be responsible members of society. The vast majority of people go to work out of obligation, not because they are happy to do so.

The workplace is rarely seen as a place where people seek happiness. Instead, we perceive them as places where we exchange skills and time for money to support ourselves.

Generally, humans strive for happiness in their personal lives by maintaining relationships or achieving their wants and dreams. However, happiness can also be achieved at work. As opposed to popular belief, work does not have to be boring or unfulfilling.

7 ways to improve happiness at work

When you feel good and happy at work, peace of mind and a work-life balance can be achieved.

It has been shown that people who are happy at work are more productive and perform better overall.

The following are seven steps employers can take to foster positive emotions at work:

  1. Embrace Employees' Strengths

The importance of reminding workers of their strengths and how they contribute to a project's success cannot be overstated. It is recommended that this happens on a regular basis, especially during feedback sessions. Continually expand their responsibilities and duties to match their strengths, so they feel like they are making progress. 

Although weaknesses need to be addressed, they should be viewed as opportunities to acquire future skills.

Those who are happy utilize their strengths in all areas of their lives. Find a creative way to incorporate your employees' strengths into their day if their work doesn't naturally draw upon those strengths.

Consider adding a small plant to the break room or common space if appreciation of beauty is one of their top strengths. According to studies, people who work in offices with windows report greater work satisfaction than those in offices without windows.

  1. Building Relationships At Work

Healthy relationships are a major indicator of happiness, so encourage your employees to connect with their coworkers. This also boosts their mood. It isn't necessary for employees to socialize with them outside of work (although having a work friend contributes to greater job satisfaction), but simply engaging in a water cooler conversation can create a friendly atmosphere.

Create a workplace culture where employees are willing to eat lunch with their colleagues rather than at their desks alone. According to a German study, people who eat lunch alone are more likely to suffer from stress than those who have social lunches away from their desks. You might see a significant rise in employee productivity if you cultivate relationships as a virtue.

  1. A Reward And Praise System

If your employees have achieved outstanding results, you might want to consider giving them a raise. Sometimes employees rewrite their job descriptions to highlight just how much more they do now than when they were first hired. When determining what is fair, this should be considered, along with the cost of replacing that person with someone with the same skills and experience. Pay raises should be applied without gender bias and err on the side of generosity.

Ultimately, what matters is the happiness of your employees, who will find fulfillment, job satisfaction, and inspiration in their work. Remember, a happy employee is a productive employee.

Work satisfaction is highly correlated with being appreciated. You can build trust, loyalty, and commitment among your employees by recognizing them regularly for their efforts. 

Everyone is more productive, creative, and well-adjusted when appreciated, so let's start with you. Gandhi once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

  1. Work-Life Balance

An effective method of ensuring that employees are satisfied at work and won't leave for greener pastures is by ensuring that this balance is achieved. Besides fair pay raises, here are the top four things you can do to help:

  • Rewards and incentives
  • Perks and benefits
  • Initiatives for career advancement and training
  • Maintaining a work-life balance

Getting your employees to appreciate the fact that there isn't a perfect 'work-life balance' is one of the easiest ways to foster work-life balance. Identifying what works best for them and their daily schedule is the first step. Strive for a realistic schedule, not a perfect one. Depending on the day, they might be more focused on work one day and their hobbies the next. It takes time to achieve balance, not just one day. Ensure that your employees are concerned about their physical, emotional, and mental health.

  1. Find Meaning

Work is viewed differently by each employee. If they perceive it to be boring and meaningless, it will feel that way. It is possible, however, that they can find greater satisfaction and gratification from their efforts if they reframe their work as a service or a way to improve the world.

For instance, a custodian at a high school may see their work as tedious and insignificant, or they may see it as helping students and educators stay healthy and safe in a growing environment. Your job as a boss is to foster a culture that promotes creativity, openness, and a platform for everyone to express ideas and criticism freely.  

  1. Encourage Workers To Be More Creative

How closely linked is creativity to happiness? It is important to create a creative environment that enhances both of them. This is what Teresa Amabile, a Harvard researcher, discovered. What can you do to cultivate a creative environment? The following are some tips:

Ensure that participants are involved in problem-solving and decision-making.

Minimize the number of meetings.

Don't let your ideas dominate.

Make sure that your employees' goals are in line with those of your company.

  1. Organize Wellness Challenges And Programs

There are numerous benefits for employers and employees regarding wellness programs and challenges. Employee engagement and employee health can both be improved through these programs.

Your workplace can significantly benefit from wellness initiatives such as step challenges, fitness challenges, and bike-to-work schemes. This can have a significant impact on company culture and employee satisfaction.

The office is more fun when you work with friends. This helps you and your colleagues feel like you're all on the same page. Your team will be able to connect on a more personal level with their coworkers if there are ongoing fun events at regular interval.

In order to get people mingling, your best bet is to organize offsites. But, you can also arrange Happy Hour once a month or half-day Fridays in the summer. Beach days with the team are magical in the summer!

Becoming a supportive manager

Using Robert Half Management Resources' four tips, managers can help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Understand what motivates your employees. Every individual has different goals regarding work-life balance. Ask each employee their objectives, and then decide how you can help. Some employees may benefit from working remotely a couple of days per week, while others may prefer to work differently daily. Flexibility and open-mindedness are important. 

Lead by example. Those around you follow your lead. Whenever you send emails or work long hours on weekends, your staff thinks that is what is expected of them. 

Employees should be informed of their options. Most employers highlight work-life balance initiatives to prospective job candidates, but they don't communicate those initiatives to current employees. Keep your employees informed about their options regularly. Discuss parental leave options with soon-to-be parents as well. 

Keep up with the latest developments. Staying on top of emerging trends in work-life balance is crucial. An employee's current work environment may not be a good fit a year from now. Provide in-demand benefits and keep your work-life balance initiatives fresh. Also, consider implementing a work-life balance program.

Flexible workplaces = happy workplaces

Flexible work schedules are often cited as an explanation for those who achieve a successful balance between their work and personal lives. Research has shown that employers have been allowing workers more flexibility with their schedules and work locations in the past seven years.

Ken Matos, lead researcher and senior director of employment research and practice at Families and Work Institute, explained that employers continue to struggle with fewer resources for benefits that incur a direct cost. The company has prioritized providing employees with a broader range of benefits to suit their individual needs and improve their general well-being.

Employers can benefit from flexibility in the long run. The Society for Human Resource Management's president and CEO, Hank Jackson, has said that employers must provide flexible work options to remain competitive and attract and retain top talent.

As Chancey pointed out, work-life balance means different things to different people due to our different life commitments. Choosing a balanced lifestyle is a very personal choice in our always-on world. Only you can decide what works for you.

Conclusion:

Most of us spend a large part of our waking hours at work; shouldn't that time be enjoyable and fulfilling? Create a happy workplace by building trust, incentivizing wellness, and appreciating employees.

Paul Freudenberg - Awardaroo!

About Paul Freudenberg

Paul Freudenberg is a business productivity coach and consultant with a focus on operational excellence delivering improved profitability and business performance, and Founder of Awardaroo in 2005. Paul has set the mission of Awardaroo to help increase the business productivity of 10M businesses one behaviour at a time to amplify profitability, create a greener planet and build a better world by 2030. Connect on LinkedIn

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