Five Ways to Boost Happiness at Work


We spend a lot of time and money on personal enrichment and happiness. We improve our homes, learn new skills, travel and indulge in a myriad of hobbies, but often, we “turn off” our sense of happiness when we go to work—and we spend a lot of time at work. Why, then, do we rarely think about how to improve our happiness at our home-away-from-home?

You can take some simple steps to improve you and your employees' morale and work performance, and maybe even put a few more smiles on peoples' faces. Here are five tips that can help make your office the kind of place that people want to come to.

Find new ways to motivate.

A great leader provides motivation rather than aggravation. Finding the balance between micromanaging and letting people explore their own methods of motivation can be tough.

Remember that people are motivated by different things. For some, perhaps the chance to change scenery and work remotely a few days a week would breathe fresh life into their work routine and create a new motivation. For others, something as simple as a new chair or desk, or the promise of a half-day off or an outing can freshen things up and bring a renewed sense of energy.

Motivation doesn't have to be external, though. It can come from an opportunity to excel or the sense of empowerment that comes from knowing they have the freedom to explore new ways to achieve business goals. Challenging employees in a safe way, pushing them harder to excel and offering them new ways to express themselves can all be powerful forces.

Finding creative ways to celebrate success can also be highly motivational. Ask your employees to nominate someone who has gone above and beyond for the company, compile a list of notable achievements and send it out to everyone. Small acknowledgements can motivate employees to try to get on the next list.

Be flexible.

Routine can be soul crushing. Nobody ever wants to think of themselves as a corporate drone in a cubicle farm, which is why flexibility is so important to work happiness. Changing scenery and finding creative ways to bring excitement to the environment are great ways to evoke new smiles around the workplace.

Very large and successful companies find that schedule and routine flexibility can go a long way toward motivation and success. Google, for example, allows employees to spend 20 percent of their workweek on projects that might fall outside their job functions. This allows employees to exercise creativity and feel empowered. Knowing their ideas will be heard keeps them motivated and working for the greater good of the company.

Get involved.

If you're a supervisor, get involved in the day-to-day activities of your team. Spend a day helping out a department in which you don't normally work. Sit in with the creative team for a day. See things from other people's perspectives. A supervisor who takes a genuine interest in day-to-day concerns makes an impression on employees.

Clearly establish your company culture.

How do you want to be remembered? How do you want your business to be portrayed in the media? Defining and executing a consistent company culture can be a phenomenal way to create a happy environment. The first step is defining the culture. Consider how you want your company to be viewed by the public as well as current and future employees. Write a mission and vision and share them to help support the culture. Employees want to know, and they will be happier and more productive when they have a framework within which to operate. Some of the most beloved CEOs (as ranked by their employees) are praised for their “strong vision.”

Get comfortable.

Determine if people are physically comfortable. Hire an ergonomic consultant to look at the height of desks, monitors and chairs; layout; lighting and other elements that affect the work environment. Do employees have the right computers? Are any monitors blurry and old? These issues might seem trivial, but something as simple (and cheap) as a new computer keyboard can make all the difference in employee satisfaction.

Happiness is not something that can be quantified, but it can definitely have a significant impact on your business. Consider the needs of your employees and imagine creative ways to increase their happiness — and their productivity.