Before digging into what workplace happiness is, maybe we can start by explaining what it isn’t:
Happiness at work isn’t a cure-all for slumping employee productivity or retention rates.
Being happy at work doesn’t mean that stress and challenges dissipate into nothingness.
Promoting happiness within your organization and teams isn’t just a catch-phrase that should be tossed around for its face value but something to commit to.
Let these dispelled myths sink in for just a moment. Now, let’s shift gears and be clear on one thing: Workplace happinessis a desirable business goal for professionals because success is more easily achievable when guided and influenced by the right intentions.
It’s important to understand that a “happy workplace” is obtainable and has the power to put out as much as you put in. For instance, employees pleased with their peers, workflow, and environment have an easier time refueling their professional passions and positivity. On the flip side, business leaders with happier teams can reap the rewards of increased quality performance and sustainability.
So, whose job is it to turn this concept into reality?
It takes two to make a thing go right, and that’s a critical element of aligning mutually beneficial goals with the actions needed to achieve them. Workplace happiness is a collaborative effort and investment by both companies and their teams. That’s right, the “key” to happiness in the workplace is two-fold: how employees find workplace enjoyment & how employers nurture it.
How employees are finding happiness at work
Lowering stress and nurturing a healthy professional mindset is something happy employees take into their own hands. If you’re wondering how to be happy at work, put these big-impact motivational factors front and center:
Work relationships: Friends at work, or at the very least, coworkers that are more than professional acquaintances, provide support and a sense of community. Healthy workplace relationships allow team members to lean on one another for advice, encouragement, and the occasional office chit-chat. Have interactions that help balance pressure and enjoyment for a great distraction from workplace woes like burnout.
Pride, potential, and purpose: They say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” But if we’re being completely honest, work is still work no matter how much you love it. There is, however, definitely room to argue that when you feel good about the work you do, are confident in growth opportunities, and have constant reminders of your motivation, work can gradually become a way of life.
Autonomy and independence: There’s a sweet spot between micromanaging and full-range responsibility freedom, and let’s face it, it’s pretty tricky to figure out. Investing in some trial and error to find your ideal work-to-management ratio will ease anxiety on your end and relieve some stress from superiors feeling like they need to check in to maintain smoothly running teams. It’s a “help me help you” kind of scenario that the whole company can take advantage of to make work environments more enjoyable.
How companies nurture workplace happiness
Though there’s equal dedication and participation needed from both employees and companies, the responsibility for workplace happiness and overall job satisfaction falls heavily on organizations and their leadership. Company cultures leveraging happy workplaces are focused on emulating these values:
Trust and respect: In this department, giving a little bit yields a lot in return. Put your faith in your teams’ talent and see what they bring to the table when their creativity, problem-solving, and team-building skills are put to the test. Maybe even pass the baton and allow team leads to make executive decisions for their teams’ needs while you focus your attention on new projects and business plans. Removing challenges of high performers like red tape is an excellent step toward influencing workplace happiness.
Fairness:Inclusivity and transparency can make or break your organization’s employee experience. An easy place to start is equal treatment among your teams, which helps employees feel secure and valued. You can keep the playing field even by holding yourself accountable when giving feedback, encouragement, and recognition throughout your workforce.
Listening in action: Improving work environments through guided learning and unlearning shows growth on a level expected of a good leader. And aside from mental health awareness and increased pay, being happy at work can be attributed to whether or not employees feel listened to by their superiors. Do more to show you’re listening by implementing action based on constructive suggestions or criticisms.
Everyone can benefit from a more functional and less strained work-life balance regardless of what rung on the corporate ladder you’re on. And since work takes up a large portion of your life and energy, both professionals and organizations are recognizing workplace happiness as a mutually beneficial business goal worth investing in.
If you’re putting up your half of the workplace happiness equation and your efforts aren’t reciprocated, maybe it’s time to explore better opportunities. If that’s the case, take some time to consider the benefits of working with a recruiter: