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7 Simple Ways To Boost Happiness At Work

7 Simple Ways To Boost Happiness At Work

How happy are your employees? Does it really matter? The answer is contained in the UN’s World Happiness report 2013, which states very clearly that happy people at work are more productive. Happiness sounds not only like a good idea, but is also a wise investment.

We all know that when workers are unhappy, short cuts are taken and there is a very casual attitude towards customer service. Add to that poor motivation and distraction and you have a recipe for disaster.

Follow these seven simple hacks to make sure that happiness is not some touchy-feely warmth in your workplace but something much more tangible and worthwhile.

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1. Concentrate on the strengths

Every worker needs to be reminded of his or her strengths and how these are contributing positively to a project. This should happen at regular intervals and especially during feedback sessions. Expand their responsibilities and duties to match these strengths on an ongoing basis so that there is a sense of progress and achievement. Weaknesses need to be addressed, but they should be seen as opportunities for acquisition of future skills through training.

2. Help workers to be more creative

Did you know that creativity is strongly connected with happiness? They both work in tandem, so creating the right creative environment will pay handsome dividends. This is what Teresa Amabile, a Harvard researcher found. How can you create an atmosphere where creativity will flourish? Here are some pointers:

  • Encourage participation in problem solving and decision making.
  • Reduce meetings to a minimum.
  • Try not to dominate with your own ideas.
  • Ensure that your workers’ goals match the company mission.

3. Keep workers fully informed

One very negative aspect of some companies is how rumors about pending cutbacks, a fall in production or other gloomy news can spread like wildfire and destroy morale. Keeping your staff informed on every aspect of the company – the good, the bad and the ugly – is the best way to avoid all these Chinese whispers. In addition, it adds to the happiness of the workers in that they will come to trust you more because you are being open with them.

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4. Praise and reward

You may want to consider offering raises for employees who have achieved outstanding results. Employees sometimes rewrite their job descriptions to illustrate just how much more they are doing now in comparison with when they were first employed. Taking this into consideration as well as the costs of replacing that person with somebody who has the same skills and experience should be guiding principles in deciding what is fair. Try to avoid a gender bias when applying pay raises to your staff, and err on the side of generosity.

What really counts in the long run is the happiness of your employees, who are going to find fulfillment, job satisfaction and inspiration in the job itself.

5. Be supportive

Taking an interest in the personal lives of your employees is another wise investment. I have worked in offices where just saying good morning was forgotten! Being flexible about staff needs and being generally supportive when death and illness strike will make the workplace a much more caring and happier environment.

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6. Offer flexible working hours

Take advantage of modern technology and ask your staff if they would like to work flexi hours and/or if they would consider working from home. The Workplace Flexibility 2010 Project showed very clearly that 80 percent of staff would be happier with more flexible timetabling.

Think about how the Best Buy Corporation achieved a 35 percent increase in their productivity. They introduced the ROWE (result only work plan), where employees had maximum flexibility provided their deadlines and work were delivered on schedule.

7. Help them get the work-life balance right

This balance is probably one of the best ways of all of guaranteeing that employees are happy in their work and will not seek greener pastures. Fair pay raises can help too, but the top four things are:

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  • Incentives.
  • Benefits and perks.
  • Training and career advancement initiatives.
  • Work-life balance.

Read here how you could achieve a Leap Award for your company! All the big names are there. Now is the best time to make a start.

 

Featured photo credit: Young Happy Hour / AFGE via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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