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Happiness at Work: 5 Keys ​for How to Be Happy at Work


Minel Aykut

| 2021-04-20
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The feeling of being happy is one of the most positive experiences in our lives and usually the goal we want to achieve. So, what do you think happens when we have this feeling at work? 

Teleos Leadership Institute founder Annie McKee, who teaches in Executive Education programs at the Wharton School's Aresty Institute, stated that being happy at work definitely makes a lot of difference for the workplace and people. In the light of the research, it is quite clear that happiness in the workplace has a very important effect on many factors such as productivity and success. If you want to know more about the importance of being happy in the workplace you can read more here

If happy employees lead to happy workplaces, it is therefore crucial that organizations understand what essentially contributes to this. There has been a lot of studies conducted to understand the factors that boosts employees’ happiness. According to Jessica Pryce Jones, author of Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success and founder of the iOpener Institute, what contributes to the individual and the organization is to enable them to have a long-term sense of happiness about their work, that is, to develop "a new mindset". 

So how can we develop the mindset that we can be happier in our work? 

5 key elements to become happier at work and 3 extra factors:  

  • Contribution: The more we contribute to the workplace, the happier and more connected we feel. This is about the effort we put in our work. As an example, employees who have answers to questions like what do I want to achieve in the long term, what are my short-term goals and am I achieving them, and what problems prevent me meeting my goals. The employees who express these questions openly, with the appropriate party, in the workplace can fulfil this. However, the business environment has a dynamic structure based on mutual interactions. In order to take this step, it is necessary to feel appreciated by managers and colleagues. So, it's also about being able to do that in collaborative working relationships. 

  • Confidence: If we are not confident in what we do, we become unhappy. However, it is necessary to balance self-esteem; neither too little confidence nor arrogance. There are several ways to work with this, such as therapy, coaching, feedback sessions with an experienced professional, and learning more about yourself. Either way it is a well invested time as it gives both happiness and results to have good confidence. It is not possible to have confident organizations without self-confident individuals!

  • Commitment: Not working like our own workplace is also one of the reasons for unhappiness. Perceiving that we are doing something worthwhile, having a strong intrinsic interest in our job and feeling that our organization's vision is in line with our purpose increase our commitment. Just as each 5 elements interacts with each other, commitment has an effect on other elements. So, if as an employee we don't feel committed, our contribution will likely be affected. When contribution decreases, conviction, especially the motivation part, will most likely decrease.

  • Culture: Adapting to the corporate culture brings happiness. It is very important that the employee and work culture are compatible, since the employees who feel they fit in the organization's culture have high levels of performance and happiness at work. However, having a reverse situation makes employees feel that the organization's values do not mean much and they do not have much in common with their colleagues. This can make an employee feel isolated. 

  • Conviction: Our belief in what we can do affects our level of happiness. Continuing even when things get tough so that we can preserve our energy, motivation, and resources. The way to do this is to feel that we are efficient, effective and resilient.

There are 3 other factors

  • Trust: Building trust in the organization is based on multiple factors alone. However, in general, trust is a fundamental condition of working life because none of us want to work in a place we do not trust, or no employer wants to work with someone we do not trust. It is necessary to create a sense of trust for a sustainable employee happiness in a workplace and therefore a successful teamwork.

  • Pride: Being proud of the organization is a well-known indicator of how engaged an employee are likely to be. There are several studies showing a positive correlation between feeling proud of where employees work and their commitment. Besides, employees who are proud of their organizations tend to be more satisfied with their organizations as a place to work, be more willing to recommend their organization as a good place to work, and to be more likely to stay with the organization for many more years.

  • Recognition: Recognition is a basic human need and it strengthens relationships. To be fully successful at any level in the workplace, it is necessary to apply the principles of employee recognition and encourage others to initiate this in their business relationships. Employees’ feeling that their work is valued, positively affects their job satisfaction and productivity. Therefore, they tend to be more motivated to maintain or improve their good job. This guarantees the success of the business. It is also important in creating an innovative and pioneering organizational environment.

Leaders play a very significant role in determining and setting the pace for creating happy workplaces. However, according to Jessica, employees themselves, as well as external factors, contribute greatly to the creation of happy workplaces. The happiest employees are those who are aware of themselves and make an effort in this regard.

According to Annie McKee, there are 3 basic elements that should be considered:

  • Having a meaningful vision of the future: It is important for the employees to see if they can build a future within the company⁣⁣.

  • Having a purpose: Employees want to see that what they do is working and contributing, and at the same time, their organization serves a greater purpose. According to McKee, leaders should be in constant communication with employees on these issues.

  • Establishing good relationships: Having a good relationship with managers is very important for the happiness of the employees. Relationships with colleagues are equally important as well as executive relationships.

As a result, happiness of the employees in the workplace makes a great difference scientifically in terms of the added value it provides to the workplace, either it is the effort of the employees themselves or the responsibility of the leaders. In view of the observation on happiness at work, how then can organizations detect potential barriers to a happy and productive workplace? Well, the first step is to have an open discussion about the subject matter where organizations take the deliberate step to promote happiness and assess the level of happiness. To this end, as Happy at Work, we can guide you on this! If you're thinking "how", you can learn more here!


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