Learn The Secret to Workplace Happiness
In international Week of Happiness at Work, do you and your colleagues have measures in place to take you to your happy place? Our Ph Creative Happiness Coach, Leigh Best offers some tips on how to get there...
As we mark International Week of Happiness at Work, it’s a good time to consider how happy we are personally and whether we can be more effective in helping ourselves and our colleagues be more content in their day to day.
Numerous studies point to the fact that happiness in the workplace is important to more than 90% of us. Which feels like something that doesn’t really need pointing out, but it seems that only 50% of us actually are.
The science of happiness in the workplace shows us that enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose are the three key components of a happy working life. Identifying your meaning and purpose in life is a huge step towards realising your own happiness.
But why is wellbeing so important for line managers? It goes beyond mere box-ticking according to the latest workplace trends. This stuff really matters.
Did you know that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue at some time in our life and 1 in 6 people will experience anxiety and depression?
It is about more than the wellbeing of individuals, however. Research shows that a happy, healthy, motivated workforce can have a huge impact on performance levels, meaning higher sales, less sick days, and increased productivity. Conversely, an unhappy workforce will produce unhappy results.
There is little doubt that a person’s job can affect their overall health and well-being. This includes emotional health, physical health, nutrition, and sleep patterns. Did you know that recent studies have shown that the relationship with a manager is just as important as the relationship you might have with your partner?
As a line manager, you really are an important link between you and your team.
If you can improve your team’s happiness and well-being, a wonderful by-product is increased contentment at work which leads to better outcomes for the organisation. But, more importantly, you may be able to make a difference to a colleague who is really struggling.
Self-care is not selfish
It starts with you. Look after your own well-being, and model this to your staff. Do you take regular breaks? Are you physically mobile during the day (depression can be reduced by 30% by exercising). Do you have a lunch break? Do you see daylight? Do you monitor the hours you work? Do you reach out if you need support? Reflect on the three key indicators of happiness at work and change what you can to improve your own work / life balance.
Developing a positive mindset will be invaluable to you. This does not mean that life at work is not challenging at times, and you will not experience negative emotions, it’s more about knowing you have the character strengths to cope.
Visit www.viacharacter.org for a free survey on your character strengths and encourage your team members to discover their own. Naming a team member’s strength is a great way to increase happiness and build resilience.
Connect, care, and take notice
How well do you know your employees? People can be masking and struggling tremendously without you knowing. It’s not just the obvious things like someone looking a bit low, getting upset or snappy, or acting differently because they are stressed.
Have you created a team where people feel safe to come to you? How strong are your connections? If you want your people to trust you, reach out, encourage, and build positive relationships. If you are concerned about someone create a private space to ask them how they are. Let them know that you are there for them. Signpost for more support if you need to.
Remember, nonverbal communication (body language, behaviour, facial expression) will tell you much more than words. Pay attention to these cues, and ensure you check in on every member of your team regularly, including those who appear to be coping well.
With regards to poor performance, find out why. Is there a personal issue? Is more training needed? Are more resources needed? Clear communication can be challenging but necessary. Remember it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Working from home is fantastic (for some) but consider creative ways in which you can connect your team. It can be an isolated experience and we need each other.
Reach out and use open questions to find out “how are you really?”. If a team member is struggling with poor mental health, listen without giving advice or judgement. Encourage people to seek professional help and discuss with HR if you have serious concerns.
Value your team
If there has been change in the workplace, it is important that your team still feel valued, seen, and heard. Find creative ways to reward personal accomplishments, and give positive feedback regularly, especially when a team target is achieved. Say thank you, communicate and ensure that you actively listen. Be honest and authentic and collaborate for creative solutions when workplace demands exceed capacity. Praise individual accomplishments, be sincere and specific (“You are…” ). As with our strengths, however, this can be overused, so be generous with your feedback, but don’t overdo it.
Support your team in prioritising what can be done each day. Embrace your own vulnerability to create a growth mindset and a team geared towards learning. Celebrate achievements.
Create individual value through success and search for ways to increase enjoyment and offer meaningful tasks. It all helps. Embracing change and managing expectations can help you and your team get the most out of your working life. Feeling and demonstrating compassion to yourself and your team will benefit you all. One of the main benefits of compassion is that it will help you to be happy. Look for ways to be kinder.
Check out www.selfcompassion.org for ideas. Anyone can criticise, but a compassionate heart is a happy heart. (you can be assertive and kind).
So, respect and value each other and remember, BE HAPPY.