We once visited a very large Danish pharmaceutical company that does almost anything for their employees. Free fruit, sports clubs, smoking cessation courses, gym – there were no tight places – so we were somewhat surprised to get this message from an excited employee “It’s just too bad that there is always red wine as a Christmas present from the company. I prefer white wine!”
Happiness at work is an amazing thing – and a sour job can cause all kinds of problems ranging from stress and aches to depression and illness. Fortunately, most Danes gradually also grasped that it is obviously more fun to be happy on the job, especially when you have to be there so many hours. The companies have now also realized that they only get motivated, efficient and service-minded employees when the employees love the job. There is simply money happiness at work!
The big question is obviously: OK, I’m convinced – happiness at work is good. What do we do? Fortunately, it is not rocket science.
[quote align=”right”]Results and relationships is what gives us happiness at work.[/quote]
We love to create results. To achieve our goals. To kick ass. So we must eliminate all the heavy regulation, bureaucracy and deadly dull meetings and instead give people the freedom to do a super job. And we love to have good working relationships. To work with people we like. The two things together, results and relationships is what gives us happiness at work.
And here are 5 practical things you can do today, to create results and relationships and get more happiness at work.
Random act of kindnes. My girlfriend once had a job in a large insurance company where there certainly was not much happiness at work. One night she saw that a colleague’s coffee mug was still unwashed in their kitchen.She quickly grabbed the cup and washed it. Then she took a post-it note and wrote “Have a nice day” and a smiley and put it on the colleague’s cup. The next morning the colleague came through the entire department with the cup, smiling ear to ear while she was happily saying “Who wrote this? It made me so happy! Who was it?” Such a little thing had saved her whole day – maybe her whole week. We love the little thoughtful things that others do for us. Bring someone a cup of coffee. Place a piece of chocolate on someone’s desk. Just something that makes someone happy.
Praise! We love praise. Many jobs have an unspoken policy called “As long as you do your work OK, you hear nothing.” Implied: “But once you make the slightest mistake, the hammer drops.” Drop that style, and instead begin to praise people every time they do something good. It’s insanely motivating to get a high-five and a few sincere words of praise from a co-worker or boss when you’ve just done something cool.
Say good morning. You know what I just can not stand? Facing the morning, come into the office, blare a happy “good morning” to the entire room … and then there’s just no response. Of course it’s a small thing, but it is not nice to start the day off by being ignored.
Here is the recipe for a good good morning. First: Make eye contact. It is not dangerous, it does not hurt and it ensures that you actually give the other person your full attention. Second: Put some excitement in it. Not a surly “morning” can’t do it. It must be a “good morning” which sounds happy, energetic and positive. Thirdly: Touch the person. A handshake, a pat on the shoulder – a hug if you work with people who like such things. I know we often prefer to go through the day without ever having to come across, let alone be touched by other people, but there is point to the madness. After shaking one’s hand in the morning, it’s much harder to be falling out the rest of the day – and much easier to build trust, cooperation and happiness at work. And last but not least: Add something extra to your “good morning”. Say “Good to see you again”, “Are you feeling good?”, “You look good,” “Have a great day” or something similar.
A day that starts with a lot of fresh, cheerful morning greetings are guaranteed better than a day that starts with you being ignored by your colleagues. And studies also show that the start of your day tends to affect the rest of the day – the mood you start out with, tends to continue. So you might as well start off happy! And also remember a nice “goodbye” before you go home. It might be you think you don’t have time for it – but the truth is rather that you do not have the time to not do it!
Remember 3 good experiences from your day. Just before you go home from work, grab a piece of paper and write down 3 good experiences from the job that day. It can be big things or little things – just something that made you happy. It helps you both by providing happiness at work and by training yourself to think more positively.
Me-time. Have you noticed the way you feel today? Find a quiet spot – if all else fails, there’s always calm in the restroom. Sit down so you can sit comfortably. Close your eyes, breathe quietly for 30 seconds. Feel it – how do you feel physically? Is there anything unconfortable? If you are fresh or tired? What fills your thoughts? Are you happy, excited, nervous, expectant, or something else? Do not try to find solutions and answers or explanations, but become aware of how you feel.
We must stop moaning over the red wine for Christmas and instead do something for happiness at work. Whether you’re the CEO or the doorman you can make a difference. As long as we sit on our face and are waiting for colleagues, the boss, the company and the community to give us happiness at work, absolutely nothing will happen.
For it is only you who knows what makes you happy. It’s not your co-workers and boss’ job to read your thoughts and guess if you’re happy or not. It’s your job to speak up. And do something about it!