Alphabet Soup: The A-Z Of Workplace Happiness (Part Two)

It’s time for part two of my A-Z of workplace happiness. This time we’ll be looking at the letters I to M, so here goes….

I is for inclusivity. Being accepted for who you are is easier for some of us than others. If we fit the typical mould for our role or organisation, it’s much easier to feel included. If we don’t fit that typical profile for whatever reason, it can be much harder to feel accepted and included at work. An inclusive and diverse workforce makes an organisation a great place to work. When everyone embraces difference, it becomes a driver of success. 

J is for joy. A recent survey showed that 90% of people expect to experience a significant degree of joy at work but only 37% did. That’s a 53% joy gap. To close this joy gap businesses need to become more intentional about investing in the happiness of their people.

K is for kindness. Committing an act of kindness is a sure way of creating a happiness boost – for you and the recipient. Sometimes opportunities to be kind present themselves and we just need to be brave enough to grab them, sometimes we need to be more courageous and create those opportunities for ourselves. Often we find this easier outside the workplace, because historically kindness hasn’t been at the top of the business skills list! When was the last time you took the opportunity to be kind to someone at work? It only has to be a small gesture, for example checking in with someone who’s new, taking time to ask how a new parent is getting on, or leaving a thank you note on someone’s desk.

L is for listening. In order to feel valued, included, and in turn happy, at work, people need to feel listened to. Listening should be active – put down your phone, make eye contact and give the conversation your full attention. Make sure you take time to really hear what the person is saying, play back key points to check you’ve really understood them. And don’t forget, if you promise to do something following a conversation make sure you do it – and let the person know that you have too. 

M is for mindset. Our mind is one of our most powerful assets. It can work for us, to make great things happen, but it can sometimes work against us too, putting barriers in our way and overcomplicating situations. Once we start to understand a bit more about how our brains work, and discover the things we can do to help them work in our favour, our mindset can be our greatest advantage. Tapping into how your brain naturally reacts to situations is a great starting point. When we become more in tune with how we respond in certain situations, we can start to train our brain to spot the warning signs of a negative response and reroute our brain to take a more positive path. 

So that’s part two of my A-Z of workplace happiness, the final instalment will be with you next month.

#happiness #culture #leadership

5 myths about happiness at work

Wrong. The absence of disease isn’t health and the absence of misery isn’t happiness. Just because we might do enough as leaders to not have our people crying at their desks doesn’t mean we are invested in their happiness. Just because an employees comes in every day, does a good job and leaves without complaining about anything doesn’t mean they are happy.

Wrong. It’s right that some some people are more naturally optimistic but, with practice, you can become happier. There is a wealth of science that shows, when we know how, we can train our brains to be more positive. Asking someone to write down three good things that have happened in the last 24 hours may appear glib but this is about training the brain to spot positive things. When we learn to look for things we see them more easily.

Wrong. In fact blind optimism is a bad thing. Who wants to be in a plane where the pilot never believes anything bad can happen so doesn’t bother doing all the safety checks (not me for sure!). Just like in the world of work we don’t want to fail to look out for the risks and dangers, we just don’t want to be overwhelmed by the fear of them.

Wrong. The science tells us that being happier at work makes us more productive, more resilient, more creative, more accurate, more analytical, less likely to take time off sick, leave or burnout. Who doesn’t want those benefits? Yes, what a great wellbeing initiative to be able to say we are interested and investing in your happiness but it goes much further than that. There are real business benefits to helping people increase their happiness.

This one is only a half myth. Yes, people need to be invested in working on their own happiness but as a leader it is for us to help them with that, to show them we value their happiness, to allow them time to work on it, to give them the tools they need to become happier at work. Importantly we need to help them understand why being happy at work is important. As a leader if you can show you are invested in your own happiness it will show your people they should invest in theirs too.

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