How to create happiness at work
This week is “Week of Happiness”, so I feel it’s appropriate to talk about happiness at work today.
I am a firm believer that the happier your team the happier your customers.
Happiness spreads and a happy team makes for a better place to work, lower staff turnover, fewer absences, your team are more productive and work better together, and it’s easier to recruit, all of which adds up to lower labour costs.
Although I’m not suggesting that happiness and engagement are the same thing, I am sure the two go hand in hand.
I know I talked about “Mood Hoovers” a couple of weeks ago; the ones who don’t like it when you are full of the joys of spring, when they’ve got out of bed on the wrong side and made up their mind to stay in their miserable state all day, determined to burst everyone else’s bubble and literally suck your good mood, all your energy and all your happiness from you. None of which is conducive to creating happiness at work.
Anyone who knows me well, will know I’m not a great one for formality. But I do recognise that informality is not an excuse to be unprofessional. I believe you can still have some fun and create a happy team whilst remaining professional.
Helping people be happy at work makes them more receptive and engaged (which is important for you) and enjoyable (important for the team).
Although you can’t force people to be happy, you can create a culture where happiness thrives.
Here are 10 ideas towards creating a culture of happiness and making your team more productive.
- Like so much in your business, it starts with you. If you are moody, unapproachable, or take yourself too seriously, this inevitably rubs off on others. But I also believe the same can be true if you are happy, that happiness spreads.
- Understand what’s important to each of your team members. Take time to talk and listen to build relationships, and show an interest in them as individuals. Clarify expectations, not just what you want from them, but what they want from you and the job.
- Involve your team. Seek their views and ideas on things that impact them particularly in areas where they have more involvement than you.
E.g. many of them will spend more time with customers than you and often spot things you might miss.
- Show you care. Be approachable for people to talk to you, but still listen and observe, so you can pick up on and deal with any concerns quickly. Identify where people need support, where they need more resources or a better system. Use problems or mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than apportioning blame.
- Do something fun but with a serious note in aid of charity. It might be a one off to mark an awareness day such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, or Macmillan coffee morning, or maybe in support of a charity with special meaning for one or more of your team. Or a longer term project in support of a chosen charity throughout the year. This is a good opportunity to bring people together from different departments, and gives people a sense of purpose.
- Add variety. Create opportunities for the team to do something different to what they are used to, to make their day more interesting. Take people away from their usual environment occasionally (as long as this doesn’t make them uncomfortable or become a distraction) such as holding meetings outside. Break up routine activities with fun energisers and ‘right brain’ activities. These might seem trivial, but getting your team members involved keeps them energized and in a better state of mind.
- Recognise and acknowledge people’s contribution. Remember to say thank you at the end of a busy shift, when someone has helped a colleague, or gone out of the way for a customer. The more specific your thanks, the more value it has. Celebrate successes, not necessarily just things at work, but also things which are happening outside of work; their own personal achievements, or causes for celebration, such as gaining a qualification, passing their driving test, having their first child or grandchild, a big birthday, etc.
- Show you trust your team members by empowering them to make decisions on things which come under their responsibility. Give them the flexibility to do things in the own way, the way it feels most comfortable and natural to them providing of course it’s safe. Very often the way which people work – it’s the end result that’s important not how they actually arrived at that end result. Particularly with customer interaction, this allows people to be themselves.
- Show your commitment to helping people develop. Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t want to be stretched or given opportunities for new challenges.
- Have some fun. Do something as a team (or whole company), whether it’s 5 aside football, a quiz team or trying something nobody has done before, such as I did last year in an archery competition. Let them choose, but give it your backing, cheer them on and celebrate their successes. Even better if you can combine it by celebrating with a treat. It can be as lavish or as little as you like: afternoon tea, wine tasting, pizza night. Create some light hearted competition with quizzes, games or league tables. Copy some of the gamification ideas you see on apps such as awarding badges, progress charts, treasure hunts.
If you only do one thing: pick just one of the above ideas that you don’t do already and make a point of focusing on that one thing today.