Five Myths About Happiness In The Workplace

As long as people aren’t unhappy, that’s ok right?

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. How often do we ask people how happy they are? Asking are they ok isn’t the same thing. Being ok might mean no one is bullying me, I have enough money to pay the bills and I don’t hate my job. Is that happiness? Take five minutes to ask someone how happy they are on a scale of one to 10. Their answer might surprise you – in a bad way or a good way – but at least you’ll know where they are at. If the score is low you can explore this with them and maybe help them to find some ways to increase it.

Some people are just happy, some aren’t. You can’t change that.

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. Have you ever bought a new car only to suddenly spot the same make and model everywhere? That’s because we’ve subconsciously trained our brains to look for them. We can use this brain hack to help ourselves scan for the positives and in turn increase our happiness levels.

This is about people being happy ALL the time.

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, I’m a nervous flyer at the best of times!). 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. Equally it’s important to make sure we validate all feelings. If someone is anxious or sad or frustrated it’s not about trying to invalidate or erase those feelings. It’s about allowing that person to feel all those feelings but then helping them to find some light at the end of the tunnel, to find a way they can counter some of the negativity. We are often our own harshest critic so if we are beating ourselves up it’s often useful to pretend we are talking to a friend in our situation. You’ll probably find you are a lot kinder when thinking about the advice you’d give to someone in your situation than you are when you are talking to yourself.

Investing in the happiness of employees is a nice fluffy thing to do but it won’t make my business more successful.

Wrong. I covered some of the benefits of happiness at work in my last article about why you should care about happiness at work. 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 to your people 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.

It’s not my responsibility to make people happy.

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.

The Happy Business School’s ‘Happiness in the Workplace’ workshop is a two-hour interactive session delivered in your workplace which will teach you the basics about happiness at work and give you loads of practical tips and tricks to take away and start using. If you’re looking for a more tailored solution then I’d also love to chat.

Connect with me, follow The Happy Business School and if you’d like to talk more about happiness in the workplace send me a message.

happiness #culture #wellbeing #employeeengagement

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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