Happiness at work
(HR) manager, focus on these three pillars!
In the run up to the Happiness at Work week, we studied happiness (at work) among Dutch employees. Of the 600+ participants, 36% say that their happiness at work as declined since the pandemic. How can you ensure that your employees stay happy at work despite difficult times?
Employees working from home more often say that their happiness at work has declined due to coronavirus. The question is how you, as HRM or manager, can facilitate their happiness at work and that of other employees. The Happy Test produces three important points of attention: vitality, meaningful work and social relationships.
Unhappy participants of the Happy Test score an average 3.6 on vitality. Happy participants score 6.1. Which means that vitality is important for happiness! In the office or on the shopfloor, there are smart ways to 'nudge' people to make them more aware of their lifestyle choices and habits. But even remotely, attention for vitality and well-being is possible. For example, Philips set up a working from home portal. And Rabobank organises online workshops and digital lunch walks to support the vitality of employees working from home. A good workplace - also at home - is important, as is sufficient recovery from work (for example, enough breaks, sleep and not needing to be accessible).
2. Devote attention to meaningful work and development
People who feel that they do meaningful work are on average 38% happier than people who do not experience their work as meaningful. Nevertheless, 32% of the participants of the Happy Test do not find their work meaningful. Of all the participants, people who work partly from home and partly on site feel that their work is most meaningful. What helps make work more meaningful? Celebrating successes, giving positive feedback, sharing positive customer/client evaluations and stories. But also having common goals, being able to redesign aspects of your work (job crafting) and opportunities for development.
We will look at the latter in more detail. Because having sufficient development opportunities at work is important for a sense of happiness. People with lots of opportunities tend to score 7.0 on happiness, while people with few opportunities score 5.9. Of the Happy Test participants, 62% experience sufficient development opportunities at work. Which means that 38% see insufficient opportunities. Work to do!
Even online, a great deal can be learned and developed, as Philips has demonstrated. Besides formal learning, learning from each other is an important part of people's development. So, think about alternative forms of learning in these unusual times: a coronavirus buddy system, monthly team knowledge sharing session or an online dialogue session with all employees.
''I firmly believe in the resilience of people to quickly do what they have unlearned if they trust that it is allowed''
3. Give relationships and communication a hand
People are social beings. Connection is important for happiness. At work too. The Happy Test shows that appreciation from the manager and social support from colleagues both have a positive relationship with happiness. Appreciation from the manager even seems slightly more important than social support from colleagues for the sense of happiness.
Too obvious? Perhaps. But the pandemic provides new challenges for the relationship between colleagues and managers. How do you stay connected with each other when you do not meet regularly in person? Providing good digital tools which are available for everyone is obviously the basis. And more can be done to promote connection. A monthly online pub quiz or escape room. Sending a card or gift to show appreciation and involvement. Digital start of the week with clear goal and input from all participants. An online 360-degree feedback tool for managers. A happiness at work toolkit. The above-mentioned buddy system.
Vitality, meaning and development and social relationships. Three important factors for happiness at work. And at the same time, three challenging themes in this time of pandemic. How do you approach happiness at work?
Want to work on happiness at work too?
Try an Energize programme for your team or organisation. Or measure the happiness at work happiness at work expert.f your employees with a Happy Test.