Happiness Quotient At Work

Years ago, I had journaled about negativity at the workplace. Those were my earlier years of employment. My first taste of negative people and office politics. As Interns, we were supposed to follow a hierarchy, do what is told and never question, and sometimes even fraternise according to how they wanted us to. If we did not do as expected, we would endure a different treatment than what others received (read: being left out of vital projects). Little did bosses and colleagues understand then, the importance of workplace positivity and connection to productivity. Most of the time, the management had stringent rules set for work and we ended up blindly following them. I have heard about it from almost all my friends who have undergone this pressure and negative environment. It is also one of the primary reasons for attrition in most organisations, then and even now. When employee satisfaction hits a low, organizations experience a lot of exits as well.

Upon some reflection, a realisation dawned how no one thought of workplace happiness even until a decade ago. All we thought was to complete our day’s targets and end the day as quickly as possible. Most of the time we were burnt out too. The biggest reason for our frustration was how the management never bothered to find out the reasons for the low outputs and errors we made. There were no efforts to liven the workplace and conduct training sessions for beginners/trainees. Professional relationships could have been more beautifully developed if there was inclusivity – seniors and juniors at one table discussing the work on a particular day together and brainstorming for solutions. Hierarchies dominated. As part of human nature, we all focused on the negatives faster than the positives – bad bosses, scheming colleagues, vile support staff. We rarely focused on boosting the energy of the workspace or our productivity.

Interestingly, this week is globally observed as the International Week of Happiness at Work – September 19-23. Some organisations do give their employees a day off from work but celebrate it with games and fun. It becomes an open house for kids to come and see the workplace where their parents work.

But why restrict this to one particular day in the whole year? Why not make every day a happy day for employees? Work can be made fun with the required seriousness too. There are many in People Operations and Life Coaches who explain the importance of happiness in and at a workplace and suggest simple ways for the same. The New CEOs and heads of organisations are setting new goals for management. Workspaces are being redesigned, and becoming more vibrant and spacious, and modifying policies to benefit workers. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s spice up our workplace as well.

10 Ways To Hike Happiness @ Work

1. Morning Tea/Coffee Meet 

Having a short chat at the beginning of the work day over a hot cuppa tea or coffee is a good ice breaker and start to a work day. Strategies or goals for the day can be chalked out. A smile exchanged, is a great way to begin the day. If there are employees who are working from home, the meeting can happen with them over a video call too.

2. Rejig Teams At Regular Intervals

Bosses can rejig teams for better productivity. Fresh ideas can energise the team as well. Innovations can be welcomed better by teams too. Of course, please do this after talking to the team. An open conversation always helps.

3. A Date For Offbeat Topics

Fix a particular day in a month to talk about anything apart from work. A small panel discussion or a debate can be organized by employees/managers. Perhaps, you can bring a speaker to talk about any topic too – anything but mundane. There is something to look forward to for employees other than work too.

4. Striking A Healthy Work-Life Balance

Work smart must be the mantra. In other words, utilising work time for work alone and encouraging better time management skills for projects. If this is done, most employees wouldn’t need to work overtime (unless it is needed). This means lesser burnout and going home on time. In addition, ensuring that the weekends are reserved for family time.

5. Vision Boards 

Experts say that having a vision or goal in front of you will motivate you to work better towards the target. Get creative and decorate the vision board/soft board. Place the board at your desk – basically a collage of images (cut and pasted) related to the project you are working on. A daily look at this board will keep you motivated to complete the project with finesse. 

6. Place Indoor Plants 

Plants are known to spread good energy and positivity at work places. They add to the aesthetic value and design of the office. Of course, keep plants that are low maintenance and spread positivity like Peace Lily, Bamboo, Cast Iron plant, Snake plant and Ferns.

7. Awarding Employees 

Praise or recognition of the hard work put in by employees can go a long way in increasing happiness levels. A small pat on the back or praising him or her for small tasks done to big projects getting accomplished at a short notice/deadline will go a long way in releasing happy hormones. 

8. Team Bonding Retreats

Having occasional team outings like lunch or dinner outside or even a get together with the team can charge up employees. It goes a long way in connecting better with teammates.

9. Career Booster Sessions

Looking beyond your horizon goes a long way in boosting organization-employee happiness levels. Encouraging employees to have long-term career goals is a great motivation. This may or may not be your last company to work so it is a good idea to have your skills upgraded now and then. A good company will organize training and on-field sessions with experts from the industry. Experts can provide professional guidance to work better and plan careers effectively too. 

10. Know Your Employees (KYE) 

Organizations earn a lot of brownie points for making efforts to remember employees’ work anniversary details like honouring their one or many years at the firm, celebrating their victories, acknowledging their success in achieving the target et al. It feels good to be known individually and be remembered on their special days. Good and bad!

Signing off with this great quote by Steve Jobs, “your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Follow Priya Rajendran

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