There are some things in life that are fairly universal such as dogs are better than cats, beer is good and everyone loves unicorns. Okay okay, those are things I believe, but seriously, one thing that must be universal is that people want to be happy at work. So why are approximately 67% (on average) of all people unhappy at work?
As a business owner of over 22 years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this subject and have created a culture at Explore Communications that gives everyone the opportunity to be happy at work. There are countless articles and research on happiness in the workplace and overall most of the data reaches the same conclusions. Happiness in the workplace is best achieved by providing and enabling a variety of goodness.
Every now and then I’ll Google “happiness at work” to see the latest findings and I got a chuckle over the first two search results – both from Greater Good Magazine, a product of the Greater Good Science Center. In September of 2017, there were THREE keys to happiness at work. Something very sad must have occurred in the following months because just one year later (October 2018), they added a FOURTH key to happiness at work!
The Google search hit a homerun with a link to an infographic from happify.com that does a good job of listing just about all the findings from various research studies on happiness in the workplace. Its a tall skinny graphic that is easier to link to than post directly so click here.
I cannot 100% support this graphic because about halfway down it notes that Japanese researchers found that we are better at tasks that require attention and focus after we look at cute cat videos. I’m an open-minded boss-man but I’m not running a loop of cute cat videos in the office!
Sometimes the pursuit of happiness is actually the biggest cause of unhappiness. If someone is constantly trying to be happy and they fail, are they more miserable than ever? I don’t think you can force happiness on anyone. Although I recall yelling that at my kids when they were throwing a temper tantrum at age three: “What do you have to be upset about? Look at all these toys? Be happy!” Dad of the Year stuff right there.
There are challenges and situations in life that aren’t good. That happens. But providing a culture and environment at work that gives employees the best opportunity to be happy has to be a good thing, right? This article from 2015 brings up some strong counterpoints, but it acknowledges that happiness is a great thing to experience.
So, what makes you happiest at work? Besides cute cat videos. And beer and unicorns.