How do you rate happiness at your workplace?
Happiness on the job – By: Marwan Ragheb
Jean –Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the Swiss-born philosopher wrote;”We must be happy, dear Emile; it is the end of every feeling creature” (Foxley, 1957). The significance of happiness has undeniably been a concern for mankind. Although people have very different definitions of happiness, thorough research revealed some robust findings;
- People who believe in God are more contented than those who do not. It is unclear whether happier people are inclined to believe in God or the other way around (Nathan Carlin, 2012).
- Mood and temperament have a significant genetic component. People are born with an emotional baseline around which the ups and downs move; in other words happiness is inherited.
- Life circumstances have little to do with the satisfaction and happiness one experiences. Well-being, riches, good looks and status have astoundingly little effect on personal happiness!!
This last motion is what concerns us regarding happiness at the workplace. It seems that a productive and meaningful life generates happiness. Beyond the pleasure lies gratification. Fulfillment comes from developing one’s strengths and putting them to positive use (Cowley, 2002). Workplace specialists discovered that employee happiness depends primarily on intangibles such as respect, trust, and fairness. Studies revealed that the top three things workers want are; an appealing work, full appreciation for the work they do and a feeling of being in on things.
According to the experts, there are seven main intangibles that make employees happy;
- Appreciation; praise is the first on the list.
- Respect; which yields significant returns.
- Trust; one has to trust the people one works with to enjoy them.
- Individual growth; people to grow and learn on the job, particularly Generation Y.
- A fine boss; bosses play a fundamental role in a worker’s happiness.
- Compatible co-workers; working with people one enjoys.
- A sense of purpose; doing something you love and having a sense of purpose (Gardner, 2008)
Managers can contribute considerably in improving the capacity of their employees to be happier at work. There is of course a mutual benefit in that; happy workers are more satisfied with their jobs and perform better at the task than their unhappier peers. This increases efficiency and productivity. Companies and managers that focus on employee happiness reap the reward. Research results indicate a staggering 46% more “on task” for the happiest employee compared to the least happy colleague. This equals 1.25 days a week in terms of time doing the job. (Pryce-Jones, 2014).
Incentivizing employees financially has its restrictions, which makes happiness at the workplace critical. Volkswagen proved through experiments that adding some fun and happiness to tasks could be the easiest way to make people change their behavior for the better (Volkswagen, 2009). Tiredness, fatigue, less focus, more waste of time meetings and engagement in office politics indicates a declining morale around the office. Conflicts, negative language, poor attitudes and unpleasant rumors increase as a result of unhappiness, all of which are counter-productive. Research also uncovered a clear link between happiness at work and sick time; this could reach up to 200% more than happier colleagues (Pryce-Jones, 2014). Job satisfaction and psychological well-being of the employees is also unquestionably a predictor of workplace turnover (Bonett, 2007).
Managers are therefore required to regularly focus on three factors that make a happier workplace; Pride, trust, and recognition. A manager’s behavior is contagious; if a manager transmits anxiety, stress or negativity; it will spread through the company faster than an ordinary cold. Manager needs to be able to lift their teams, be encouraging and honest (Scott, 2009). Take part in our research by participating to the following survey;
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- Bonett, T. W. a. D., 2007. Job Satisfaction and Psychological Well-Being as Non Additive Predictors of Workplace Turnover. Journal of Management, 33 no:2141-160(April).
- Cowley, G., 2002. The Science of Hapiness; we’ve tried Health, Wealth and Prozac but still we’re not contented. Newsweek, 16 September, p. 46.
- Foxley, J.-J. R. -. B., 1957. New York: Dutton.
- Gardner, M., 2008. Seven things employees want most to be happy at work. The Christian Science Monitor, 28 January, p. 13.
- Nathan Carlin, D. C., 2012. 100 years of Hapiness: Insights and findings from the experts. Santa Barbara CA: Praeger.
- Pryce-Jones, J., 2014. iopener.co.uk. [Online] https://www.iopenerinstitute.com/
[Accessed 8 January 2015].
- Scott, D. E., 2009. The managers role in increasing hapiness in the workplace. Stat Bulletin Wisconsin nurses association.
- Volkswagen, 2009. The fun theory. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thefuntheory.com/
[Accessed 1 March 2015].