Happiness at work can improve productivity with up to 31% and boost sales by 37%. Happiness at work is directly impacting creativity. For a knowledge-worker, happiness at work is a key factor. Many studies show there’s a significant relation between happiness at work and productivity.
To clarify, happiness at work is not the same as work satisfaction. Work satisfaction is all about perks and salaries. Happiness at work is about feeling a certain way.
While many companies lag behind improving happiness at work, some get it right. Accident or intelligent adaptation, they still boost productivity. So, let’s go about it proactively. Hence, here are a few proven ways you can boost happiness at work.
#1 Start practicing random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness will boost happiness at work. What’s better is that many of them are cost-free. My favorite is writing something nice on the whiteboard. Warning, doing the same on a flip-chart might not work the same way.
Making 2 coffees instead of one is one way to boost happiness at work. Especially if you know how your teammates take the coffee. Chances are you’re not the only one that wants a cup of coffee. You can do the same with anything else you’re getting.
Even better, let someone get ahead in a line. This could happen at lunch. Simply let them go ahead. Even better if they seem in a hurry.
A friend of mine helped his soon-to-be boss while in a line for tickets. You can imagine they had a good start afterwards. But random acts of kindness are not about rewards. They’re about how you feel when doing them. They contribute to your happiness.
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When you are performing a random act of kindness, you express something. And that something is gratitude. And you can’t feel gratitude and fear at the same time. Gratitude and, similarly, kindness, allow you to better yourself.
There are some people where you work that you meet every day. The one at the gate. The other one at the reception. Take some time to learn their names. This is as important as knowing the name of your manager. Think about it this way. These people greet everybody that work with you, everyday. Greet them as warmly as possible. You’ll brighten their day. Moreover, kindness is contagious.
#2 The snack bar and the Pomodoro technique
A snack bar can boost productivity via short burst of focus. Insanely useful for those that work with the Pomodoro method. This is simple to implement. Research shows that a short snack can boost productivity.
Basically, a bit of chocolate can increase your productivity for tasks which require focus. Mechanism of action? Happiness.
How to go about it? Organize a snack bar with special instructions. People are to snack, then work for 30 minutes, then take a break. Then repeat. This might lead to some water-cooler gossip. But overall, you raise the bar on everything. If happiness increases, productivity increases. Costs are minimal. What’s not to like?
The benefits of this method are subtle. Firstly, you’re providing a system for taking breaks. Secondly, you’re improving team engagement. Because it’s not about pampering your team, it’s about energizing them.
Finally, you generate a context for water cooler gossip. And studies suggest that water cooler gossip can improve teamwork.
You can’t expect people to go on a snack bar break every 30 minutes. And you shouldn’t aim for that. In fact, the point is to create this opportunity for super-focus. Engage people and ask them to zoom in after the snack.
#3 Develop a plate-smashing mindset
Happiness at work is all about relationships and people. It is a feeling. And two things that affect how we feel are success and failure. Both of these generate very strong emotions.
Most of us have been brought up in a culture that celebrates success. Winners take the prize, everybody else does not. The same culture makes us want to avoid failure. And associate it with very bad feelings. We’d rather hide failure so that we keep these feelings at bay.
But hiding failure of any kind means hiding your mistakes. And when these mistakes cost your team, you have a greater issue. So, it’s a good idea to organize a culture in which failure and mistakes are accepted. One that celebrates a good effort, no matter what. One that still aims at achieving more, yet is OK with accepting failure. To do so, celebrate success and failure equally.
The Greeks have it right with all that plate smashing. Good and bad may come our way, we should learn to regroup and focus on the positive. The only way to overcome is by recovering as fast as possible.
Besides, individual struggles should never go unnoticed. No matter what the end result is. This works whenever individual wins are team wins. And more so when there are loses. Being open and kind about failure and success converts negativity. It clears the air and opens the room and the people.
To sum up, happiness at work improves your performance on all fronts. Besides, we spend nearly one half of our awake time at work. It would be terrible to spend that much time being unhappy.