In all aspects of our lives, we strive for happiness. And taking into account that we spend most of our awake hours at work, it’s something that plays a crucial role in our general happiness. Happiness, however, is highly subjective – what makes you happy doesn’t necessarily make me happy. Therefore, it can be difficult to pinpoint universal catalysts that drive personal happiness. But what happens when we begin to characterize happiness outside our personal lives, in more general terms at work? Can we then draw any collective conclusions?
The answer to these questions is yes. A definite yes. We met one of the associates at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss happiness in the workplace and what organizations can do to increase employee happiness.
A conventional perspective might suggest that success precedes happiness; that performance is the precursor to happiness. What if we told you this doesn’t hold true? Would you believe us? The truth is that a correlation exists between happy employees and a great bottom line. Several studies prove this. In fact, the path from happiness to performance has shown to be twice as strong than the other way around.
So, how do we bring happiness to the workplace? At the Happiness Research Institute, they operate with several factors that have shown to improve overall happiness at work. We share 3 of them with you right here, so you can easily take the first steps to increasing employee happiness.
Purpose in Place
One of the highest scoring factors is having meaning. It’s why we do the work, and often relates back to showing employees the bigger picture behind their work and the function they fulfil – how are they helping others, their colleagues, clients and society in general?
Establishing a social environment and strong employee relations can also play a major role in creating a happy workspace. It’s a matter of connecting people and encouraging employees to build relationships with one another. The truth is, we are all social beings by nature, even at work.
One way to encourage employees to connect with each other is to design the workspace accordingly. For instance, create breakout zones and corners with flexible objects that can easily be moved around. These minor changes will prove to have a positive impact in the long run.
Adobe’s renovated headquarters in San Francisco provides a great example of this. What used to be enclosed offices with small breakrooms, leaving almost no room for social interaction, have been turned into an open space with various areas promoting social interaction and creative thinking. Here, a series of BuzziCubes take up a prominent role. Because of their flexible nature, they are easy to move from one corner to another, allowing employees to create small breakout zones of their own.
Alternative options to the BuzziCube are the BuzziPouf, BuzziBalance and BuzziSpot – all being high-performing acoustic products, unique in design and without doubt great contributors to social interaction.
Apart from social relations, influence and empowerment can also make a big impact in creating a happy workspace. Here, empowerment should be considered in its broadest sense and not be limited to matters of delegating work and other business-related issues.
Enabling employees to feel empowered can often involve something as simple as giving employees a feeling of control over the environment they operate in, e.g. the workspace. Such feelings of control are especially linked to levels of privacy and autonomy in deciding where to work in the office whether that be in a private or open space. What matters is that employees have a choice.
Designing a workspace is therefore not only about functionality. It’s equally important to design for the well-being of employees to foster happiness at work.
Creating various work areas for employees, whether that be open or private spaces with different levels of privacy, can easily be achieved with a variety of solutions. Some of these include BuzziHub, BuzziVille, BuzziBooth and even the BuzziCockpit. If you’re in need of additional inspiration for your workspace, you can find all our solutions here.
However, not all organizations will have the resources to refurbish their workspaces. But in fact, they don’t have to. Small changes matter. For instance, letting employees hang a picture, choose their own chairs, and decorating with plants at their desks can make a world of difference. Here, it’s really the sum of the parts that make up the whole.
Most important of all is the mindset. Namely, to acknowledge that happiness does lead to success. Happy employees are not just good to have, they are a must-have.
The Happiness Research Institute is an independent think tank fuelled by a curiosity of exploring why some societies are happier than others. The Institute is led by Meik Wiking, researcher and author of several reports and books on happiness, subjective well-being and quality of life. His most recent books include The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke.
Photography Adobe Headquarters: Emily Hagopian