A happy workplace is a healthy workplace! Happiness in the workplace is a serious subject for business leaders who understand its far-reaching impact on profits and employee well-being. People who are happy at work tend to enjoy life more and have better health, stronger relationships and a greater sense of purpose. They also have a huge positive impact on the organisations they work for – evidence shows that happier staff are more productive, creative and committed.
Yet the tragic fact is that huge numbers of people are desperately unhappy at work. Help is at hand though. Each of us can influence the levels of happiness in our workplace through our own behavior and attitude, here are a few tips.
Curiosity is a good thing, when it’s not intrusive. Curiosity exercises our mind and can help keep us mentally alert. Curiosity can broaden our perspectives, both factually and philosophically. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and connect with people. Show your concern by looking around and taking notice of your colleagues’ body language and social cues. Not everyone is going to be so open about their struggles. And when we look and observe, we help ourselves develop new friendships and deepen existing ones. We stop focusing on our own wants and shortcomings and begin to feel connected and look at the larger picture. By cultivating curiosity and remaining open to new experiences, we increase our likelihood of encountering those surprising and satisfying activities.
Exercise comes with many physical and mental health benefits including a sharper ability to focus, lower stress levels, boosted productivity, and alleviated anxiety. And because we spend a greater portion of our waking hours, it’s easier to sync with colleagues to form a buddy system for exercising. Even if you don’t exercise together, a group can help keep tabs on each other and drive motivation. You could also consider a friendly weight loss competition. Share tips, celebrate achievements and try exercising together. Even something as little as a post-lunch walk around the block would help the bonding along.
Did you have a stressful morning? Is a client giving you a hard time? Take a minute to let it out. Turn your chair towards your co-worker in the cubicle next to you and relieve your mind of that stressor. And reciprocate the same for a colleague. Learn how to listen with empathy. Try not to make complaining a habit. Learn to recognise the fine line. Try having lunch with colleagues. At lunch, make it a rule not to talk about anything work-related. When you begin to actually get to know each other out of the context of work, the workplace will have a more communicative environment. Avoid the pitfalls of slander and gossip. Also take care to avoid slang and the wrong use of mental health terms like crazy, psycho, mental, idiot, etc.
Gathering a group of individuals with shared interests is a great way to create an emotionally charged and happier workplace. It encourages the formation of bonds, builds companionship and can bring about a sense of belonging. The obvious groups are sports groups like cricket and football groups or book reading clubs, but you could also get creative and start other groups like a Star Wars club, a Game of Thrones club, a cycling club, a gardener’s club, a comedy club and more. Do get a sign-off on your HR though before you do it.
When it comes to relieving stress and the workplace or elsewhere, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Laughter cuts through tension, helps diffuse stress, and fosters a positive work environment. Also the burden of a task is lifted when approached with humour. Practice using humour to diffuse tension and frustration. Work and play are not opposites – they are complementary. Try sharing jokes, look for humour in a tough situation or laugh together at a funny video. Whatever it is, do make sure you get at least one good laugh a
day at work.