Happiness is what everyone strives for. It's the stuff of poems and songs and overused quotes. It stands as a global indicator of a good life. As it turns out, happiness has another thing going for it. According to a 2014 U.K University of Warwick study, happy people are also more productive.
Research participants who were subjected to happiness-inducing techniques saw a 12 per cent rise in productivity levels. While many professionals view success as a path to happiness, it turns out that happiness may actually pave the road to success for businesses and their employees alike.
"We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities," explained Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, in an interview with Entrepreneur. "Only 25 per cent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five per cent is about how your brain believes your behaviour matters, connects to other people and manages stress."
So, if happiness tends to be a driver of productivity and organisational success then how can leaders foster a culture of happiness in their office? Let's dive in:
1. Laughter is always the answer
Laughter is at the heart of alleviating stress. Nothing feels quite as good as a big belly laugh after an uncomfortable meeting or a hard client discussion. Leaders should make a concerted effort to make the office a place where laughter isn't a foreign noise.
Whether this means cracking a few jokes yourself or simply opening up the office kitchen for more social interactions - giving your employees the opportunity to look up from their computer and smile is crucial. Laughter usually involves more than one person so encouraging some good old fashion fun in the office can have the added bonus of strengthening employee relationships and even improving office communications.
2. Experiment with more flexible working conditions
As of late, many modern workplaces have begun implementing a work from home policy. With the Internet allowing many main business functions to be done anywhere - it's pretty simple to offer employees the flexibility of working from their house occasionally. This can be a particular source of joy for professionals that have to commute to work.
According to Inc. Contributor John Rampton, much of the stress felt by employees exists in the disconnect between their work and home lives. Many workers choose to live in the suburbs to raise their families but this can often mean an hour or more commute daily - tacking onto an already long workday. Try doling out a more flexible work location policy to promote a little more office joy.
3. Revise your benefits
Happiness at work often stems from the security a job can provide. Forbes contributor Susan Galer noted that many US companies cite their great benefits as the main reason for their employees' happiness. From healthcare coverage to savings options - creating coverage or benefits that help secure your employees future can result in a much happier work life.
Obviously, the approach to benefit revisions will vary considerably from company to company and considerably by country but sweetening the deal for your team can have a profound impact on happiness.
4. Or just dole out some treats …
OK, so maybe doling out an entirely new benefits programme isn't in the stars right away. There are simpler ways to encourage happiness than tearing down organisational staples. What better way to put a smile on someone's face than by laying out a bowl of candy in the office for everyone to enjoy?
It may sound silly but the University of Warwick study backs up this happiness method. When research participants were given fruit and chocolate while working, their overall productivity shot up by 20 per cent. Also, it was at a very low cost to the researchers. The study noted they spent around $2 a person. So head on over to your local convenience store and pick up some goodies. It's a simple way to put a smile on everyone's face.
5. Recognition is your best friend
You know the feeling. You've had a hard week but you've done some solid work and then your boss takes the time to compliment your effort. Nothing can put a smile on a worker's face quicker than a little recognition for their work. While vocalising your praise is a great way to encourage a happier workplace, try taking it a step further by implementing an employee rewards and recognition programme.
Power2Motivate offers a fun and collaborative peer-to-peer employee rewards programme that allows your staff to choose their own rewards and recognise other team members. With a social news feed and some fun gamification elements, the recognition process becomes happiness-inducing as well. To find out more, contact us today!