Happiness and laughter in the workplace

News in the ‘Workplaces’ Category

10 Reasons to Win Funding for Workplace Wellbeing

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Workplace Wellbeing

Employers of choice recognise that wellbeing programs don’t just payoff in terms of health – they pay good dividends to the business too.

1. 20% of employees have a mental health disorder1, which can affect productivity in many ways, including;

a. Fatigue
b. Motivational issues
c. Difficulty managing a routine
d. Difficulty performing physical job tasks
e. Difficulty managing their workload2

Helping your staff deal with these has a productivity dividend.

2. One of the most common diseases resulting in serious workers compensation claims is mental disorders6.

3. Up to 60% of absenteeism is attributable to stress-related disorders3.  Building the resilience of your team will help them deal with adversity and stress.

4. One in five employees are unhappy at work4.  Happy workers spend twice as much time focused on task then unhappy staff.

5. Up to 35% of cardiovascular disease in men and one third of depression in women can be attributed to job stress5.

6. The direct cost of workplace injury and disease in Australia has been estimated at over $7 billion per year nationally5.  Indirect costs are much higher.  Wellbeing programs reduce these.

7. Healthy employees are three times more productive than unhealthy employees8.

8. Happy workers place less emphasis on pay, stay longer in their roles and take less sick leave4.

9. Stress is also indicated in dangerous weight gain.  People in poor health perform worse at work9.

10. Healthy work programs can generate medical savings of about $3.27 and absenteeism-related savings of about $2.73 for every dollar invested7

The case for a wellbeing program is clear – keep up the good work.  Contact us if you’d like our free powerpoint to help you make your case to the executive.


1.  Australian Bureau of Statistics.  National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007.

2.  Lerner D, et al. Work performance of employees with depression: the impact of work stressors. Am J Health Promotion 24(3), 2010.

3.  Fletcher B. The epidemiology of occupational stress. In: Cooper C, Payne R, editors. Causes, Coping and Consequences of Stress at Work. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1988:3-50.

4.  Chiumento.  “Happiness at Work Index Research Report 2007.”

5.  Vic Health.  “Workplace Stress in Victoria – Developing a systems approach”

6.  Safe Work Australia, Compendium 2007/08.

7. Health and Fitness Summit of the American College of Sports Medicine.

8.  Medibank, The Cost of Workplace Stress.

9.  Work Stress and Health: the Whitehall  II Study, 2004.

So you’ve just been appointed to develop a workplace wellbeing program …

Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Workplace Wellbeing

Pt 1 in an occasional series on creating and maintaining a GREAT wellbeing program.

So you’ve just been appointed to develop or re-develop your organisation’s wellbeing program.  Congratulations.  Everyone likes wellbeing programs – they’re  all about health and wellness –  it should be a breeze right?  You’ll create this program easily to the accolades of your boss and peers.  Right?  Or are you thinking – where do I start? What goes into it?  Where can I find the time among all the other tasks I have?

We meet many, many staff who, while well-intentioned, have never been given the tools or support. This is what this series is about – helping you create a great wellbeing program that will reflect well on you, improve the health of your colleagues and increase the productivity of your organisation.

Today we’ll tackle “Where do I start?”  To answer this you need to address these 4 issues:

Why does your organisation want to create or refresh its wellbeing program?

The answer to this will shape the program.  For instance if the reason is that there’s a problem with bullying then a wellbeing program will only help if you tackle the bullies AND teach your staff assertive communication.   If it’s stress than teach the staff resilience AND tackle the stressors.  What you don’t want to do is be in a position where you are being judged on issues you have no control over.

Management Imperative Your Approach
lower OH&S costs? find out what big costs are and target your program to reduce them
improve productivity link to business outcomes
retain staff what is making them leave?
attract staff better get some external publicity
tackle bullying good start but needs more than a wellbeing program
manage stress deliver resilience program AND change the stressors

Answering this question will also help you determine what sort of resources you can expect.  Will the program be home-grown or can you use external providers?

Who Will Support You?

Where did the idea come from?  Do you have top management support or will you have to get that.  Grab a pen, single sheet of paper and go down to the coffee shop.  Do a stakeholder matrix (15 minutes) then go through and identify all the blockers and drivers including the reasons people WON’T tell you about.  This is your strategic research.

Create a Coalition

Now go  out and talk to the people you will need support from.  They don’t always need to be higher up the chain – you’ll also want the support of your end-users – the staff!  Get your supporters  on board and  find out what you need to do to win over the others.  Then do it.

Timeline and Goals

Yep – wont’ take long. Spend 30 minutes setting some goals and a target date for launch/refresh.  You can change them later –the important thing is to have some milestones.

5 Things NOT to do

1.       Start without knowing where you’re going.

2.       Look for providers to “see what’s out there” before you have a plan – it’s time-consuming and confusing.

3.       Proceed without knowing the organisational drivers – this will tell you what support and resources you can expect.

4.       Do it on your own – include others.

5.       A “big-bang” plan – test your ideas early and often.

In the next issue we’ll discuss how to decide what should go into the program – and how to get it the staff’s own.

At Workplace Wellbeing we specialise in helping you create and implement effective wellbeing programs – programs that are engaging, cost-effective and successful.  We have a range of templates and advice we can give you – and an initial consultation is free. 

I’m really busy and value my time – I’d like to gain from your experience.

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