Happiness at work and how happiness initiatives improve productivity!

The iOpener Institute, in their studies on organizational success, revealed that employees who feel happy in the workplace are 65% more energetic than employees who don't and 2 times more productive. There you go! Here is a straight forward business case for organisation to invest more on creating happier employees!

But, what is happiness? It is definitely not about organising social events every week and expecting all employees will be happy. There isn't a simple definition for happiness at work, every individual is different and hence to create a happy culture, organisations needs to first understand different aspects of happiness and adopt different strategies to tackle each one of these to ensure they have a happy and inclusive culture.

Let's understand happiness a bit more using the PERK model of happiness. According to PERK model there are 4 key pillars to happiness as shown below and  there are multiple factors influencing the pillar. We will also talk about what organisations can do in terms of creating a happy workplace which in turn will drive productivity
Happiness at work
  • PURPOSE:  focusses on "meaningful work" and creating a "sense of calling". It covers two questions , 1) Is the organisation values aligned with personal purpose of individuals 2) Is the work meaningful and individual's work making a difference to organisation's purposes. In today's world, organisation needs to make sure there is a bigger purpose for their existence and they do not just exist to make profit in order to attract more millenials and Gen Zs employees. Companies need to also ensure they talk about their purpose often to create a sense of prestige, social belonging and pride in the minds of employees.
  • ENGAGEMENT: is about a sense of "enjoyment, fun and involvement at work". This is something easily relatable to those invited to limitless events by HR especially in these COVID days. Many organisations started doing engagement survey to check the pulse of employees in a more little and often approach, which is a great step towards measuring engagement. Organisations needs to think about policies and cultural shifts required to create better engagement. Autonomy and Job crafting are great part of creating engagement where employees have power on what their day to day job is. What i am more excited about the topic of 'Flow' at work. "Flow" is a state of mind where a person is absolutely involved in the activity or task. Leaders needs to think about moving from a multi-tasking mindset to clear prioritisation and getting the team to focus on critical projects/activities and thereby create "flow" of work. Organising social events, virtual connects, etc. are also important aspects of engagement which  many organisations have already started doing.
  • RESILLIENCE: is about "rebounding from setback with no regrets". Resillience for me is very personal and is linked to mental health, wellbeing and thought process of individual. Encouraging employees to practice mindulness, creating an inclusive culture where there is no fear of failure are great initiatives organisation can do to help employees to develop resillience and be themselves at work.
  • KINDNESS: focus on "Care and respect for others" is what makes us all human beings and differentiate us from other species. We all heard about what changes it can bring to individuals when they show gratitude and kindness towards other beings. Leaders need to start saying more of "THANK YOU" openly and be empathetic. The days of mass layoff are gone. Employees today expect more empathy and understanding from their employers.
Let's look at potential wishlist of initiatives that organisations and team may think about to drive happiness at work and to inturn improve productivity of team
    • Clearly call out company purpose and talk about it, CEOs needs to be the ambassadors of this internally and externally
    • Support employees in identifying their own purpose with programs and help to create meaningful contributions.
    • Focus on creating an employer brand that everybody want to work for.
    • Embedd autonomy and job crafting in the cultutre and job role design. Empower line managers and employees to take own decisions related to their day to day work
    • Create "flow of work" by adopting agile ways of working to prioritise well and to focus on work in progress - 1 big task at a time!
    • Create a fun environment at work with informal social groups with nominated site social co-ordinators who knows the local social needs
    • Encourage team initiatives to bring people together like Learning nugget sessions, sports groups, lunch & learn, etc.
    • Mindfulness program
    • Teach self compassion with yoga programs, gym membership, mental health awareness
    • Provide mental health support and help for vulnerable groups
    • Encourage frequent time off from work with quarterly leave quota and sabbatical or career break with strong policies
    • Encourage non financial social recognition programs
    • Encourage empathy and compassion at work
    • Create a culture of "THANK YOU"
    • Encourage friendship at work with informal groups and corporate social media.
    • Community support or volunteering programs
Please comment and share what your company is doing to create "happiness at work".


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