Happiness may just be the key to a company’s healthy bottom line.  Why is it so important to provide a work atmosphere that promotes happiness amongst employees?  It turns out that when employees feel happy; they become more productive, more engaged, and even more innovative while at work.

An increasing amount of research is proving that there are plenty of actions we can take to increase work place happiness. Given the sheer number of hours people spend working over a lifetime, it makes sense to consider making the most of the work that we do in terms of increasing happiness and well-being.

What will it take to make employees happy? Based on research conducted in the United Kingdom by Chiumento for its “Happiness at Work Index,” here are the top ten factors ranked in order.

What Makes Us Happy at Work

  1. Friendly, supportive colleagues
  2. Enjoyable work
  3. Good boss or line manager
  4. Good work-life balance
  5. Varied work
  6. Belief that we’re doing something worthwhile
  7. Feeling that what we do makes a difference
  8. Being part of a successful team
  9. Recognition for our achievements
  10. Competitive salary

What Makes Us Unhappy at Work

  1. Lack of communication from the top
  2. Uncompetitive salary
  3. No recognition for achievements
  4. Poor boss/line manager
  5. Little personal development
  6. Ideas being ignored
  7. Lack of opportunity for good performers
  8. Lack of benefits
  9. Work not enjoyable
  10. Not feeling that what I do makes a difference

Now we know what makes employees happy and what promotes unhappiness, but why is happiness so important when running a business? How does it directly relate to a company’s bottom line? Below is a top ten list of reasons:

1: Happy people work better with others
Happy people are a lot more fun to be around and consequently have better relations at work. This translates into:

  • Better teamwork with your colleagues
  • Better employee relations if you’re a manager
  • More satisfied customers if you’re in a service job
    • Improved sales if you’re a sales person

2: Happy people are more creative
When people are in a good mood on a given day, they’re more likely to have creative ideas that day, as well as the next day, even if we take into account their mood that next day.  If your productivity depends on being able to come up with new ideas, you need to be happy at work.

There seems to be a cognitive process that gets set up when people are feeling good that leads to more flexible, fluent, and original thinking, and there’s actually a carryover, an incubation effect, to the next day.

3: Happy people fix problems instead of complaining about them
When you don’t like your job, every molehill looks like a mountain. It becomes difficult to fix any problem without agonizing over it or complaining about it first. When you’re happy at work and you run into a snafu – you just fix it.

4: Happy people have more energy
Happy people have more energy and are therefore more efficient at everything they do.

5: Happy people are more optimistic
Happy people have a more positive, optimistic outlook, and optimists are way more successful and productive. It’s the old saying “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right” all over again.

6: Happy people are way more motivated
Low motivation means low productivity, and the only sustainable, reliable way to be motivated at work is to be happy and like what you do.

7: Happy people get sick less often
Getting sick is a productivity killer and if a person doesn’t like their job, they are more prone to contract a long list of diseases including ulcers, cancer and diabetes.  Unhappiness also makes people more prone to workplace stress and burnout.

8: Happy people learn faster
When people are happy and relaxed, they are much more open to learning new things at work and thereby increasing productivity.

9: Happy people worry less about making mistakes – and consequently make fewer mistakes
When you’re happy at work the occasional mistake doesn’t bother you much. You pick yourself up, learn from it and move on. You also don’t mind admitting to others that you screwed up – you simply take responsibility, apologize and fix it. This relaxed attitude means that less mistakes are made, and that you’re more likely to learn from them.

10: Happy people make better decisions
Unhappy people operate in permanent crisis mode. Their focus narrows, they lose sight of the big picture, their survival instincts kick in and they’re more likely to make short-term, here-and-now choices. Conversely, happy people make better, more informed decisions and are better able to prioritize their work.

When people are happy, they are healthier.  We also know that being happy at work has a positive impact on our performance and our company’s success. If your company culture needs improvement, start with small steps and encourage creative and innovative thinking, recognize positive contributions and ensure that your management team is effectively communicating.  Happiness may just be the key to your success.

Information courtesy of Quality Service Marketing’s Blog – Specializing in Internal Marketing & Internal Communications (www.qualityservicemarketing.blogs.com) as well as Chief Happiness Officer – Top 10 Reasons Why Happiness at Work is the Ultimate Productivity Booster (www.positivesharing.com)

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