Workplace Happiness Is...

Workplace Happiness Is…

Pharrell Williams sang, “clap along if you know what happiness is to you”, are you clapping?  So often we say we want to be happy and fulfilled in our roles, but what does that really mean? Does happiness really matter? Can one truly be happy at work? How do we “clap along” because we are happy?

If you were to type the words ‘define happiness’ into the google search engine you will find that there are over two million results.  Positive Psychology defines happiness as “a state characterized by contentment and general satisfaction with one’s current situation.” My favorite definition sums up happiness as ‘that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile’, taken from  Happiness should not be equated with pleasure, here is why.  Pleasure is fleeting and often passes quickly; happiness emerges as we accept reality and are comfortable with who we are.

Organizations have been forced to rethink the concept of the modern workplace.  As employees struggle to maintain work/life balance in the face of the ‘new norm’, does being happy at work really matter? Various studies have shown that happier individuals are usually more healthy, more productive, more engaged.  Organizations which pay attention to employee happiness have been shown to outperform their competitors.  In a study conducted by Fowler & Christakis, they concluded that happiness has a ripple effect up to three degrees.  Happiness is contagious and happy employees are an excellent investment for successful companies. Further studies show that happy employees are more innovative, more resilient, nicer to be around and there is less conflict in the workplace.  Therefore, workplace happiness does matter.

Job satisfaction is not workplace happiness, although, job satisfaction does influence workplace happiness.  Success and happiness are interrelated and interconnected; successful people are generally happy people.  How can you be happier at work? There are factors that influence our happiness, genetics, circumstances and how we respond to situations.  Positive thoughts, exercise, helping others, socializing with others, being resilient, having a purpose and being a part of something bigger than ourselves, are all things which influence our happiness. Focusing on your strengths and not your weaknesses along with seeing the cup half full and not half empty enhances your individual happiness and influences the happiness of those around you. Separating reality from the perceived and accepting the things you cannot change are positive steps towards happiness.  Take ownership of your actions, appreciate who you are and be proud of your accomplishments.

“Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do” because you are happy.  Happiness is attainable, it comes from within. Being happy does not mean that you will feel good all the time.  Life is complex and full of ups and downs, so there are occasions when being unhappy is a natural and appropriate response to the situation.  Being happy at work does not mean the complete absence of stress, but it encompasses your ability to widen your perspective and be more resilient. You control your happiness, and it stems from the way you choose to manage your thoughts, actions and reactions. Remember that you are responsible to yourself first and then others. You can ‘clap along’ when you are comfortable with your reality, whatever that looks like, because you’re happy.