I love springtime! Once we hit March I can honestly say I’m at my happiest – my garden shows signs of new life, the nights are lighter and summer holidays are within sight.
The subject of happiness seems to be a hot topic currently with lots of great work being done in schools and other environments to support wellbeing and resilience. It’s also something of interest lately for academics too: I came across a great phrase from Jane Dutton, a Professor of Business Administration and Psychology who refers to ‘human flourishing’! I believe that happiness is really important in the workplace too; it’s certainly something I strive for within my team.
It’s important to me that they enjoy being at work, enjoy each other’s company and feel comfortable being there. I consider positive working relationships to be particularly important; the happiest people in the workplace are those who connect with their colleagues and have positive social relationships. Alongside this, I have a role to play in helping the team to manage work-life balance and making sure they have time to spend with family and friends. It all makes such good business sense as well.
When people are happy and feel a sense of wellbeing they have so much more get up and go, which in turn means that they are much more likely to be working positively towards business goals and to get up but stay! Psychological research has shown that not only does being happy make you healthier, it also improves your problem solving abilities and means you earn more money. So from a commercial viewpoint it makes sense for employers to be mindful of how happy their staff are. The topic of happiness isn’t a new one but I do think it’s something we have shifted our focus towards.
We now talk about wellbeing in the workplace rather than causes of ill health; we think more about how we can provide work life balance and prevent stress for example, rather than learning how to recognise it and take action when it’s already occurred. For me, happiness aligns in the workplace with employee engagement strategies.
If an employee feels they have job satisfaction this must in turn contribute to their happiness which means that they are going to be more motivated, likely to display organisational citizenship, stay in their job and ultimately contribute to business growth. It’s not just in the UK where happiness has moved up the workplace agenda.
Countries such as France and the USA have turned their attention to happiness as a means of driving organisational success and performance. The damage caused by the recession left people at risk of redundancy, without pay rises and in some cases in debt.
This kind of situation takes its toll on mental health and impacts on wellbeing and performance. I think this is something we will see increasing in attention overtime and becoming an significant aspect of business strategy.