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Jamie Lawrence

Wagestream

Insights Director

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How can HR make the most of the UN International Day of Happiness?

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Tomorrow it’s the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness 2015 and I’ve just received a press release about a newly-launched ‘Happiness Printer’ which comes pre-loaded with 1000 ‘happy’ images

You can’t buy the printer – but you can win it by telling the company producing it how you would use it to make the world a happier place.

There’s a quote included in the press release:

“Offices are not always thought of as particularly happy places.”

“Imagine a world where you can have happiness on tap, all you need to do is just push a button – now we’re not claiming to have created this, but with the Happiness Printer we’ve at least taken a step in the right direction.”

This is obviously a marketing stunt but it gives the wrong impression of what we should be focusing on when it comes to happiness at work. Employees and companies must move away from fleeting moments of emotion as these are not representative of long-term happiness, which we must strive for.

Long-term happiness is built on values like trust, respect, long-term relationship building, getting your basic needs met and then getting your deeper, more individual needs met in a way that is meaningful to you.

And we can’t forget that the workplace is a central pillar to an individual’s overall happiness. There are 168 hours in a week. If we sleep eight hours a night, there are 112 hours left. If we work a 40 hour week, we spend 36% of our wakeful time at work.

On International Day of Happiness, it’s important for HR to educate staff on what happiness looks like and how the workplace can help them become happier overall. If your staff don’t know about the hedonic treadmill, how does that affect their happiness and the way they feel about work?

Don’t assume your employees automatically link happiness outcomes to gym memberships (exercise lowers anxiety, improves mood, released endorphins, improves sleep quality), life assurance (hitting Maslow’s hierarchy for financial security and reducing anxiety) or office plants (which not only make people happier but also improve productivity).

Look at the 10 keys to happier living identified by the charity co-ordinating efforts for International Day of Happiness and see where your existing workplace efforts fit in.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence
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