3 Ways You Can Make Your Workplace Happier While Increasing ProductivityNone By Woody Rini
All of us want our workplace to be one of both success and joy. We dream of the perfect job at a cutting-edge company with great pay, and great people to boot. We want to feel fully engaged in our work—to be challenged and, at the same time, intimately connected to our peers. Unfortunately, many of us feel overwhelmed when trying to create that dream scenario—partially because we don’t know where to start.
Today I want to share with you 3 ways you can improve your workplace right now, as a volunteer. By leveraging these tips, you can become a happiness superconductor who lifts both the morale and the performance of your entire team.
First, I want to convince you that your actions at work do have a significant impact on many others. In his book The Happiness Advantage, positive psychology expert Shawn Achor asserts that each of us actually has a “ripple effect,” and that our emotions affect people up to 3 degrees away from ourselves. That means your emotions and actions don’t just affect your coworkers—they affect the friends of your coworkers, and even the children of those friends!
Keeping in mind the incredible impact we could have, a coworker and I requested and received sponsorship to run a “Happiness Advantage” program at our workplace. Here are 3 experiments we conducted, and the amazing results.
Happiness Experiment #1: Encourage Gratitude with a Thank-You Box
The first experiment we ran allowed employees to express gratitude—a practice with many benefits, including increased happiness, more resilience, and stronger relationships. Although coworkers could of course send emails thanking each other, my colleague and I believed, as does author John Coleman of the Harvard Business Review, that handwritten notes would more effectively express gratitude than email.
We set a “Gratitude Box” in the middle of our office space, and let employees know that they were free to write as many thank-you notes as they liked to colleagues in the office. We provided brightly colored paper note templates and pens too, making it as easy as possible for people to get involved (and reducing the activation energy required to join the activity—another topic Shawn covers in his book).
We also promised to deliver the letters for people, all in one night. Our colleagues woke up one day in February with their desks littered in thank-you cards. The response was so positive that people asked if the event could come back again later this year!
Happiness Experiment #2: Give Away Candy (with a Twist)
Another breakthrough moment in The Happiness Advantage comes when Shawn cites a study where doctors given a piece of candy were much more creative and accurate in making a diagnosis. Could such a simple giveaway increase productivity and creativity for our company too? My colleague and I tested it by leaving candy in the common area, but again with a catch: We left the candy in pairs, and instructed our coworkers to take one piece and give the other to a coworker.
Again, employees were able to both give and receive something meaningful. At the same time that we were making them happier, we were making them more likely to solve any problems they faced in their day-to-day role, just like those doctors who exhibited more creativity because they felt valued.
Happiness Experiment #3: Create Connections
The difference between employees who are satisfied and employees who are truly engaged is that engaged employees genuinely care about their company and will work harder to create results. My colleague and I scheduled “creating connections” sessions on our floor, again in the common area, and hosted roundtables with company executives there. We asked executives the following questions:
These questions gave employees valuable insight into the company’s mission and connected a diverse group of people more intimately. The result? Employees were more engaged, happier, and ready to be more productive than ever.
Keeping the Superconductor Active—Spread the Movement!
Employees in our department responded so heavily in favor of this engagement program that we went from a 2-person volunteer effort in one location to a 5-person formal team across 4 different locations! Needless to say, our happiness movement is spreading.
In summary, if you want to be a happiness superconductor in your workplace, do the following:
I hope these tips give you the inspiration you need to leverage the “Happiness Advantage” in your own workplace.
Woody Rini is a life coach, software developer, and human rights activist. He teaches clients how to combine self-growth and social activism to maximize personal and worldwide well-being. Find his website at woodyrini.com.
Check out Shawn Achor's Happiness Advantage: Fuel Your Career Success track on Happify!
You May Also Like: