Happiness at Work — Why & Where to start?

Should we care about H@W as long as the job is getting done?

It turns out we should, as happy companies are more successful and more productive.

People who are happy at work are about 12% more productive.

Sounds great but how?

That’s where it gets tricky. Common thoughts are that providing perks such as free food, massages in the office, on-site medical services and gym facilities, would ensure a happy workforce.

Humans are incredibly good at adapting [..] we get used to almost anything — good or bad.

A classic study on this was performed in 1979 was comparing lottery winners to accident survivors who were paraplegics and quadriplegics. They found no significant different in general happiness but people who had won on the lottery were happy about their good fortune but in fact took less pleasure from everyday activities than the accident survivors!

Simply put, Happiness is and always was about people!

Exactly, while values are important happiness at work lies in little in the Environnement and more on what one does and how one’s effort are recognized. This is a very challenging goal to achieved as feelings differ from one to another person, and can’t be easily scaled.

Concretely, what can be done?

Overall, I have gathered five vectors that can foster happiness in your organization:

1. Random acts of workplace happiness.

Scientific research shows that the random element of small acts really matters.

2. Give voice to positive people.

It is far easier to train a positive one into a given task then to train someone to change their outlook.

3. Stop negative behavior.

Gossip, rudeness and other negative behaviors act like a cancer at the heart of the company if they are unchecked.

4. Celebrate success.

Never ever underestimate the power of a nice word. Emphasis should be put on celebrating each success, releases or project end.

5. Celebrate experiments.

If you do then people will be more open to admitting they have made a mistake. They will do it earlier, and you will have more time to take corrective actions, or simply kill the project.

TL; DR

Raise up our work conditions and make happiness a main focus. Celebrate successes and failures and more important, give recognition to the people, not their enablers.

Baptiste.

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Baptiste Grand

Baptiste Grand

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I’m an Agile Coach that wants to inspire you to seek happiness in your work and your life, by changing the way we do stuff.