5 tips for a happier work environment and happiness at work
You would want your employees to be happy in their work, wouldn’t you?
As a HR professional, it is often a key part of your role to ensure your workforce is happy, engaged and motivated. You also want them to feel valued, aligned with company ambitions and regardless of their position, to know that they are integral to your organisation's function.
If your staff aren’t happy in their role, it can often lead to more serious problems like stress, high retention rates and absenteeism. That’s why this blog post has been crafted to help you navigate workplace happiness!
After reading you’ll be able to:
Understand why this area is important and why a happy workforce is such an essential part of your organisation's culture.
Take away a few ideas on what you might be able to implement in your own organisation.
Start thinking more deeply about your organisation's wellbeing strategy.
What does happiness in the workplace mean?
Patrick Lenicoini shares a useful explanation in his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, Patrick Lencioni. He says it basically boils down to wanting to feel like who you are matters (you want people to know your name), that what you do has an impact (that you're engaged in relevant work) and you are making progress (that your work is having an impact and leading you and your organization forward). There is a lot of existing research that confirm a happy workforce can bring some valuable benefits to your organisation too.
A study by the Social Market Foundation and CAGE found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. It has also been proven that companies are more likely to retain happier employees and that happiness is a powerful motivator. According to Action for Happiness, 90% of people want to be happy at work.
Monday.com also believes that:
Happiness creates loyal employees
Happy staff use their skills and ideas to help hit company goals
Happiness leads to efficient problem solving
And Inc shares that:
Happy employees are successful employees
Happy employees have the right attitude
Happy employees support each other
What are the tips to create a work culture that promotes happiness in the workplace?
Here are five ideas you might want to consider and take on board.
1. Ask for feedback and take action
Do some research into how happy your workforce feels right now and ask for their opinions. Be prepared to follow through with appropriate suggestions and allow staff to take ownership if relevant. Try not to adopt a one size fits all approach as everyone is different.
One other thing: Discuss current benefits and review how well they are currently being used. It is not really a benefit if no-one values what is on offer or it is not appropriate to the needs of your workforce.
2. Review your working environment to ensure your staff are comfortable in their working space. If you are in an office environment, look at desk spaces and don’t forget about your remote workers too! How can you encourage your employees to declutter where they work? Do you have plants in your office that everyone can see? There’s a whole heap of research that suggests plants in your office increase productivity and general feelings of wellbeing. A greener office space could reduce sick days per person, per year, by up to 1.6 days.
Make sure drinks (especially water) are available throughout the day and consider providing healthy food snacks like fruit for staff to munch on if needed. Ensure those who work remotely don’t lose out and send them some plants for their office space. Look out for local fruit box delivery companies too.
Relaxation areas are also important if you run a busy office. Is there a place for your team to comfortably take a break? How can you encourage remote workers to take regular breaks as well?
Take action now: Do an office walk around, are your spaces green enough? Check-in with your remote workers, can they see their plants? If they don’t have any, what types would work for them, what space do they have? Consider faux plants too. Our ‘Declutter Your Space and Mind’ webinar/workshop might be a great way to kickstart this process.
3. Get to know your employees and their nearest and dearest
It is important to connect with team members on a personal level and understand a little more about their life and what they enjoy doing. It shows you care as an employer and will also help you to put on social activities that they would want to do!
You also want your employees’ immediate family to be positive about your organisation so it’s worth thinking about how you can show them that you care about their partner/family member and that you value them too! This starts by taking an interest in those closest to your staff by regularly asking about them, yet can be carried one step further in other ways. For example, a bunch of flowers to say how much you appreciate their partner attending a conference where an overnight stay was required, or a gift on a special birthday. Think about how your organisation can involve them. What events could you consider inviting them to? If they feel well treated, they are more likely to promote you as an employer in the home environment.
Thinking point: What current actions are you taking to engage the family? Is a corporate family day something you could consider? Do you think their nearest and dearest see your business as an ally and partner who understands them and understands their needs? How can you find this out and improve what they currently think of your organisation as an employer?
4. Link your employees' wellbeing benefits to the 5 ways to wellbeing model
To ensure your staff are feeling good and functioning well, consider what steps you have in place in relation to this model. How do you encourage regular connection? Are your employees keeping active during the day? Are you supportive of staff giving their time to others? What volunteering options do you currently offer? Do you have a fundraising price match scheme? Are you promoting training and development opportunities to encourage your staff to keep learning? Take some time to ponder over this. It is a great exercise to ensure corporate wellness within your organisation.
5. Ensure wellbeing is a central part of your organisation's culture
Having a wellbeing strategy in place is an essential part of keeping your staff happy. By adopting this approach, all employees will know their wellbeing is a priority. This will be demonstrated by a range of activities, best practices and ongoing wellness sessions that take place regularly. You can read more about this and the benefits here.
Need support? It can be difficult to take a holistic approach when you are so close to your staff. Maybe it is time to bring in an expert to support you on this journey. If you would value another opinion from one of our wellbeing experts on where you are and how to move forward, please get in touch and book a discovery call with us. Sometimes another pair of eyes can really help you to see the wood from the trees. Having an impartial point of view might also be useful for your staff to encourage them to open up.
Still feeling a little overwhelmed? If you are not sure where to start, why not begin by picking just one or two of the topics cited in this article? Where are you doing well, where could you do with a little bit of clarity? You can always chat through your observations with us and bring us on board to fill the gaps.
You CAN create an environment where team members thrive, one action at a time!