Happiness at Work

christinapd
HR Consultant
People Development Magazine
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We all want Happiness!

Today the sun is shining and the hope of a beautiful spring and lovely summer are in the air.  Most of us know the feeling of happiness and wellbeing that comes with a lovely sunny day.

The day made me think about happy days at work, and the happy memories I have over the years.  It was interesting that the images that sprung up were:

  • The memory of times when the full team were on the same wavelength and really felt like what we were doing mattered and made a difference.
  • When someone did something they were proud of and a personal success had materialised
  • When we laughed when we worked, even when things weren’t perfect.

It’s funny that what didn’t come up were the memories about performance, or profit margins, or great management, or any of the traditional things we try to get right in the workplace.

Stories about Steve Jobs and his questionable leadership style abounded after his untimely demise.  Although he was celebrated as a great leader, some of the rumours hinted at bullying tactics, micromanagement and a sheer determination to get results no matter what.

I don’t know if these are true, but If I were an Apple employee, I would guess that being part of some of the most world changing set of products and how amazingly they were marketed and accepted, would be up there in my portfolio of happiness. The fact that Jobs wasn’t the perfect people leader may well have been irrelevant.  Who knows?

Having significant meaning in your work can be the happiest experience you can achieve.  It can be the most motivating, resilient inducing factor.  It is amazing how being involved in a meaningful way creates determination and builds character, despite the odds.

Likewise being in a place where individuals can grow and feel proud of what they do is one of the best cultures to foster.   When people feel a sense of achievement, when they’ve gone the extra mile and made a difference, it can not only be motivating for them, but can brilliantly move the whole team to action.

You might laugh to think that workplaces could be exciting, inspiring and create enthusiasm.  It might be that it is difficult to muster these states in ourselves and people we work with for long.  But it is these factors which the majority of us will remember about our working lives.

These qualities don’t have to be present only for world changing products.  Making a difference to the care of our elderly population or with our kids who need help to have a better sense of themselves and therefore achieve more with their lives for example, can be equally inspiring, even on a one to one.  Providing an everyday service, or producing inexpensive products can be inspiring if they make a real difference to others’ lives.

I’ve met many wonderful people over the years and worked with some inspirational leaders and individuals across all different roles.  The ones I remember the most are the ones who could laugh in the face of adversity.  The people who had a sense of fun.  This entailed a sense of detachment and lack of  seriousness about the job in hand at times, but never a lack of commitment or dedication.

Studies have shown, that laughter can have the following positive effects on our own and others wellbeing in the following areas:

  • Reduce the effects of stress
  • Invoke muscle relaxation
  • Reduce pain
  • Invoke essential cardiac exercise
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Improve Respiration

And we all know that people who feel better and have a greater sense of wellbeing are more productive.  So can you afford to spend the time to focus on happiness in the workplace?  I would suggest that you can’t afford not to.

Wishing you happiness today, and if you aren’t feeling happy, try to bring some sunshine into someone else’s life today.

What do you think?  Is your workplace a happy one?  Do you have happy memories of work?  We’d love to hear from you.

The above blog post is available in audio.  If you aren’t able to see the audio button below, visit: http://www.peoplediscovery.co.uk/PD/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Happiness...

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