Happiness and laughter in the workplace

News in the ‘Happiness’ Category

It Pays to be Happy at Work

Friday, February 18th, 2011
Workplace Wellbeing

How would you like to be more successful at work?  How would you like to be better paid?  What about being more engaged and energised – does that grab you?  And what would it be like if Monday mornings were something you looked forward too?  If you already do then congratulations, you’re probably happy at work.  If you’re not, then the good news is that you’re going to reap a whole pile of benefits as we show you how to be happier at work.

Jessica Pryce-Jones (author of Happiness at Work) conducted a large-scale study of more than 3,000 respondents in 79 countries and she found that the happiest employees are:

  • 180% more energised
  • 155% happier with their jobs
  • 150% happier with life
  • 108%  more engaged
  • 50% more motivated and
  • 50% more productive!

The happiest employees took 2/3 less sick leave and spent 80% of their time doing what they were there to do compared with 40% by the least happiest.

It’s not just employers that are better off. According to Dr Sonja Lyubomirski (Ph.DS Psychology, University of California) people that are happy at the office have higher incomes, better outcomes and enjoy more success. In research published in 2005, Lyubomirski found that there was a much stronger causal link between happiness and success than between success and happiness – i.e. happy people become successful – not the other way around (though there is a bit of that). Or put it another way – if you’re miserable before you became successful you’ll be miserable afterwards (so don’t put it off your happiness :-> !).

Why then do employers (and let’s face it many employees) resist the notion of happiness at work?  Why do they have a separate (and smaller) budget for wellbeing then they do for professional development?  It’s because we think to be productive you also have to be serious and stressed.  I call it the “George Costanza Myth” (see my earlier post for more).   It’s the notion that successful people are harried, highly-strung and much too busy to have fun or to share a kind word with their colleagues.

In truth maintaining a positive, uplifted, outward-looking and humourful state is much better for your work, concentration, memory and decision-making than a serious, stressed and/or narrow focus.  It’s also better for your health, wellbeing, wallet and success.  So enjoy your life and your work – it’s good for you and it’s good for your organisation.  Stay tuned for further updates on how to build your happiness and productivity, save time and stop stress. Comments welcome.
Give yourself a top day.
Cris Popp
Chief Happiness Officer

Fun Helps Change and Learning

Friday, December 10th, 2010
Workplace Wellbeing

It should be pretty obvious to you by now that we believe having fun is a better way to change behaviour than a negative, deficit-based approach (see our YouTube testimonials and clips ). It ties in with our belief that happy people are more effective at work and in their personal lives. There’s plenty of scientific evidence for that and a growing body of practice including Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and Innovative Positive Organisational Development (IPOD). Now IPOD and AI probably don’t sound like very “fun” words to you (we’re geeks and love this subject) so we’re going to make it fun for you to understand. Just watch this clip read on below. Notice how many more people take the stairs after the change ….

It does remind me of the maths teacher reported in the Melbourne Age that who brought a dog into class and found that all the students’ marks went up. People are attracted to what makes them feel good and avoid that which makes them feel bad (oh what a surprise *lol*). Not everything can be lighthearted but things have gone too far the other way – there is an epidemic of seriousness. Workplaces and jobs can be much more fun. Workshops, especially, should be fun to make people receptive to new messages and help learning. That is if you want people to want to be there. And we wonder how to engage our people!

The George Costanza Myth

Friday, November 5th, 2010
Workplace Wellbeing

There is a notion in workplaces that happiness and high performance – like oil and water – don’t mix.   It stems from Henry Ford who said “When we are at work we ought to be at work.   When we are at play we ought to be at play.   There is no use trying to mix the two.”  Mr Ford was right about production lines, but modern workplaces just don’t work that way anymore. I call it the George Costanza myth.

George - not happy and not successful

George Costanza, from hit comedy series “Seinfeld”

George was, to be blunt, a ‘loser’ – which included being stingy, selfish, insecure, dishonest and lazy. Under his desk at work he had a bed so he could sleep. When he got home at night he used to tell his friends he did nothing again.

“How did you manage that?” they would ask.
“Ah” he would respond, “every time someone approaches my desk, I just look stressed, worried and busy” (George would furrow his brow, put his hands in his head, look down – you know the kind of thing)  “and they think I’ve got too much to do”.

Many workplaces are the same.  If someone looks  rushed or stressed, worried, harried or unhappy, then we think they must be busy,  they must have a lot to do,  look at them  – they are probably very effective, they must be getting a lot done.  If someone has a laugh, looks too relaxed or pauses (perhaps they’re thinking) – look at them, obviously they don’t have enough to do.

I’m not saying you don’t have a lot of work – many workplaces are stretched and you might well feel overwhelmed. I am saying that finding ways to relax, taking a breather, time-out and having a laugh are all good for productivity – not bad for it.  In fact being happy at work can make you up to 50% MORE productive.  It also aids innovation, decision-making, memory and communication (more about that next time).

Don’t buy into the myth of stress.   Stress is not an inevitable part of success.  So next time you take a relaxing deep breath, crack a joke or take time to connect with your colleagues, next time you allow yourself to feel happy remember you might also be helping your own success and becoming more productive at the same time.  Personal wellbeing and high performance go together.  More about this next time.

Give yourself a top day.
Cris Popp