Just like in any other aspect of your life, happiness plays a crucial role within the office walls. Happiness rhymes with motivation and productivity and nobody would raise an highbrow if I state that your workplace should be a happy place, a place where it’s good to go back to, as opposed to a place where you feel like you have to drag yourself to every single morning. Let’s then address the psychological side of happiness and how we can bring it back into our office.
We live in stressful times, as you probably noticed every single time you glance at the news, markets are shifting and every business has to be improved, changed and adapted to new conditions. All this and much more puts a whole new level of pressure on employees which, in turn, feel more and more challenged. How can we deal with these harsh conditions if not by embracing a “positive psychology”?
Has been proven by many reports and studies that what employees need the most is to be satisfied, empowered, valued in order to feel motivated at work and therefore carry out high levels of productivity. After all, they are the most important asset of any business and the happier they are, the more productive and innovative they become. But how do we achieve that? How do we instill a positive vibe in our employees? Let’s brake it down to three aspects that can be addressed right away.
A very hard question to answer to – and also quite embarrassing – is “Why are you doing this job?”. You can try to walk around the office asking your employees or colleagues, but I would discourage you to do so, you might get a breakdown happening in the toilet. Yet, to know the “why” behind our actions is essential to drive them and, of course, to feel motivated and engaged with whatever we do.
Moreover engagement is the key to happiness. Once we are engaged with something, we’ll give away our time, blood, sweat and tears, because for one reason or another, we care about it, it’s personal. A good way to do so is to give employees a personal “why”, a reason to engage with the job. Achieving this isn’t exactly a 2+2 operation, of course. We all know what we do in our offices, or what is our product, but the why is often unclear and blurry. The first step is to clarify to yourself and, if you are in a leadership position, to your employees. In other words, give them a reason to get up in the morning related to your business.
Every one of us will find motivation coming from different angles, yet we can agree that we all appreciate a good dose of praise and recognition. The “why am I doing this” should be followed by a “thank you” from time to time. Just words maybe, yet, they can have a huge impact on our psychology, motivation and happiness. Committing to express gratitude is great step towards that direction.
Managers and supervisors should be committed to expressing thankfulness whenever the occasion presents itself. What you are doing is literally to put a smile on someone’s face and they should constantly encourage everyone else to do the same. Talk to your employees or colleagues and remind them of the positive impact of praise.
Sure, for some people overly focused on themselves and the work this might represent a high challenge, yet, it really doesn’t take much of effort. Maybe a “thank you” at the end of an email, a gesture, a small gift…anything works at this point, just don’t force it too much – you don’t want people to feel that you are insincere. Opening a meeting where you clearly and loudly thank everyone for they work will set the tone. Feeling appreciated, many experts say, is usually the first step to being truly satisfied on the job.
The third aspect you should focus on in order to spark positive and happier working environment is a tricky one since it requires a bit of investment from a managerial point of view and, depending on how big is the company you work for, it could be a hard thing to implement within the working week. Yet, if done well, this could give you incredible results.
Training and mentoring is a subtle yet very effective way to make people happier. Today’s workforce is way more mobile that it used to be, in this sense, fostering “company loyalty” is hard to achieve but it can have huge positive effects. If an employee feels like is “just another brick in the wall” he’s always feel under appreciated and figuratively always with one foot out the door. This isn’t the best place to start a happy relationship.
Investing in them, giving them opportunities to grow within (and thanks to) the company will surely give them a reason to stay and close the door, to work harder, to feel somehow more responsible towards the company which in turn has taken the first step to help them. Plus, they will start feeling part of something, a community made of people and on top of it, they will be sharing experiences that they wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the company. Sharing, learning, sense of community are all big stepping stones on our personal quest for happiness.