contact-us“Happiness is a good predictor of job performance.” Wright & Cropanzano, 2000, Hom & Arbuckle, 1988

“Happier people set higher goals for themselves.” Baron, 1990; Hom & Arbuckle, 1988

 

To build a happier work place:

1. Provide your employees with Autonomy; Autonomy is a better predictor of happiness than money.

Whenever possible, let them decide:

  • When to take breaks.
  • Who they will work with on different projects.
  • The type of role they will play on different projects.
  • How to create and take ownership over company culture activities.
  • Create metrics that allow you to give autonomy up to a certain point. For example; they can approve invoices under $5,000 or they can autonomously manage the department as long as the customer service score and employee retention remain above an 85%.

 

2. Facilitate and encourage friendships in the workplace. People who have one or more close friends tend to be happier.

  • Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions, and babies.
  • Host potluck lunches and happy hours (with reasonable non-alcoholic beverage choices).
  • Host competitions among small groups for best decorated office at Halloween, most food for a can drive, or Art Gallery night.
  • Encourage participation in Company Teams (i.e., Volleyball, Soccer, Softball, Walking or Running).

 

3. Show that you care about your team members and let them care for each other. People who volunteer or simply care for others on a consistent basis are happier

  • Send get well messages when they or their family are home sick.
  • Send condolences and offer support for tragedies.
  • Make note of family successes like having a baby, buying a new house, college or High School graduation, and winning the spelling bee.
  • Organize events around company sponsored charities.
  • Encourage employees to spend time volunteering for a cause they care about.

 

4. Cultivate positive emotions by creating a culture of gratitude and appreciation for one another.

  • Establish a structured method of providing different forms of recognition to employees who have done excellent work or completed a large project.
  • Make efforts to express spontaneous recognition or appreciation to employees during team meetings.
  • Organize team celebrations at major milestones (i.e., end of fiscal year, end of large project) and use them as opportunities to express gratitude toward one another.

 

5. Create a strength-based team culture. Employees who use their strengths regularly are more likely to achieve a state of flow.

  • Have your team members take strength assessments; be aware of their unique strengths.
  • Give team members a chance to celebrate and share their strengths with others; make their strengths visible (i.e., signs outside their cubicles, team strengths map).
  • Incorporate strengths into performance reviews and discussions; discuss ways that employees can craft project work to align with their strengths.

 

6. Encourage little friends (i.e., dogs, fish, plants) – Pets and Plants inspire more creativity and create a more productive and happier workplace.

  • Let team members know the types of animals they can bring to work (based on company policy) and encourage them to do so.
  • Place plants in public areas of the organization.
  • Give plants as gifts for birthdays, life events, etc. and encourage team members to keep them in their offices.

 

 

  1. Being happier at work – for individuals looking for ways to apply the Science of Happiness to their work life.
  2. Increasing productivity and profitability with happiness – For leaders or executives who want to improve productivity and profitability and are interested in how the science behind happiness can help.

 

Resources

Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Stanley, “The human-animal bond – Dogs in the Workplace”, Psychology Today, Published on June 16, 2011 – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201106/dogs-in-the-workplace

Evan M. Berman, Jonathan P. West and Maurice N. Richter, Jr. Workplace Relations: Friendship Patterns and Consequences (According to Managers) Public Administration Review Vol. 62, No. 2 (Mar. – Apr., 2002), pp. 217-230 – Published by: Wiley Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3109905 or http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-84549951/workplace-relations-friendship-patterns.html

Fairchild, Caroline, “Workplace Happiness Survey Finds Friends Are More Important Than Salary,” The Huffington Post, posted: 10/17/2012 4:09 pm EDT Updated: 10/23/2012 3:31 pm EDT http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/workplace-happiness-friends-over-salary_n_1971110.html

Hao Y. Productive Activities and Psychological Well-Being Among Older Adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2008; 63(2):S64-72

Hunter, K. I., & Linn, M.W. (1980–1981). International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 12, 205–213.

Krueger, R. F., Hicks, B. M., & McGue, M. (2001). “Altruism and antisocial behavior: Independent tendencies, unique personality correlates, distinct etiologies.” Psychological Science, 12, 397–402.

Larson, R.W. (1990). “The solitary side of life: An examination of the time people spend alone from childhood to old age.” Developmental Review, 10, 155-183.

Lu, L., & Argyle, M. (1992). “Happiness and cooperation.” Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 1019-1030.

“New pet policies unleashed at work make employees happier”, Fort Wayne.com http://fwnextweb1.fortwayne.com/adv/special/2012/career_business/article0003.html

Prayukvong, Wanna, “A Buddhist Economic Approach to Employee Volunteer Program: Happiness in the workplace”, Happy Society http://www.happysociety.org/ppdoconference/session_papers/session16/session16_wanna.pdf

Post, Stephen G. (2005). “Altruism and Happiness: It’s Good to Be Good.” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12:2, 66–77.

Ronald Fischer, PhD, and Diana Boer, PhD, Victoria University of Wellington “What Is More Important for National Well-Being: Money or Autonomy? A Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, Burnout and Anxiety Across 63 Societies,”; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 101, Issue 1. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/06/buy-happiness.aspx

Salmansohn, Karen “The No. 1 Contributor to Happiness – Why/how to regain your autonomy to increase your joy!” Published on June 30, 2011 Bouncing Back http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bouncing-back/201106/the-no-1-contributor-happiness

Ulrich,nRoger S., Ph.D., “Texas A&M: Impact of Flowers & Plants on Workplace Productivity Study – University Research Shows Flowers and Plants Inspire Better Business Ideas: Flowers & Plants Increase Workplace Productivity” http://www.safnow.org/texas-am-impact-of-flowers-plants-on-workplace-productivity-study

Weiss, R.S. (1973). Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social Isolation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wheeler, L., Reis, H., & Nezlek, J. (1983). “Loneliness, social interaction and social roles.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45. 943-953.

William A. Gentry, Ph.D., Todd J. Weber, Ph.D., and Golnaz Sadri, Ph.D. “Empathy in the Workplace, a Tool for Effective Leadership.” Center for Creative Leadership, April 2007

Woodards, Shantee, “Study shows that pets make a happier workplace” , CapitalGazette.com, Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 5:00 am | Updated: 12:02 pm, Wed Aug 8, 2012. http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/business/study-shows-that-pets-make-a-happier-workplace/article_dd109f67-704d-5076-b57a-923062c6027a.html

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