Happiness at Work: 4 routes to building a happy and productive work culture

For International Week of Happiness at Work 2019, Lucie, Octopus Personnel Recruitment Consultant, describes 4 ways to build a culture of happiness and fulfilment at work.

It’s widely known that a happy workplace improves employees’ outcomes. When the atmosphere is friendly, work is no longer just a necessity but a pleasure. Perhaps most importantly for many businesses, a happy workplace boosts productivity. And it works both ways. High productivity creates a happy workplace. So employee happiness is a rising priority for many organisations, large and small. So how can we make employees happy? Check out these four possible routes to employee happiness and productivity…

People laughing around computers - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

1. Build it and they will come; a mindful workspace

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment. This awareness of ourselves and the world around us can improve our mental wellbeing. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace. Slowing down can feel against common sense, but in some ways, it’s the kind of recharging you need most to get even more done. Mindful employees are happy employees!

Infographic - 70% of employers have improved physical environments at work - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

If you want your employees to be mindful, you can use the workplace to show it’s a priority. Allocate spaces in the office that can become quiet zones. These are the places people can go to recharge, do deep work, concentrate on the task at hand or simply switch off for a few minutes. Fitting out these spaces with soft furnishings – sofas, cushions, rugs, blankets and plants – can help to create a cozy, warm and relaxing environment.

Sunshine on a worker's back - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

Keep the mindful focus with educational resources such as mindfulness apps to download, tips on finding the right environment for the right work mode and books or prompt cards on quick mindful exercises. You could even provide noise-cancelling headphones and a tablet with relaxing playlists or guided meditation apps. Empower your employees with my 5 Simple Ways to improve your Well-being, reduce Work Stress and increase Productivity blog here.

2. Recognition matters: listen carefully and value effort

Listening to your employees is vital. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. As this Salesforce report finds, ensuring that employees’ voices are heard needs to be part of a larger push for equality and inclusiveness in the workplace.

Companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity consistently outperform the competition. They more accurately reflect the diversity of society and reach more potential customers, and they incorporate a broader range of perspectives into their decision-making and strategy. Inviting more people to the table, and ensuring their voices are heard, is a win-win for everyone. So make sure you are giving those opportunities for your team members to volunteer ideas, be they about streamlining processes, marketing, new aspects of the business or strengthening the team.

Inforgaphic - recognition inspires people - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

As part of this dialogue, ongoing feedback is absolutely vital for employee happiness at work. Forbes argues that recognition is the number one thing employees say their manager could give them to inspire them to produce great work. Global studies prove that when it comes to inspiring people to be their best at work, nothing else comes close—not even higher pay, promotion, autonomy or training. Feedback and recognition should always tie back to a company’s core values and mission. Employees want to be reminded that their work has purpose and meaning – making a difference makes you happy!

You are already probably excellent at recognising your team’s effort, but make sure your praise is specific and public. Praise them, nominate them for awards, give bonuses, and publically say that you’re grateful for their work. It motivates them to do more great work and will pay off in the company’s success.

Woman writing at a desk - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

3. Training and Investment

There’s nothing worse than working with something you don’t feel good at. It makes people feel like they’re being tortured and their productivity falls dramatically. Improving your employees’ skills is the best thing you can do for them and for your business. A disenchanted employee who dislikes their role can be re-energised and engaged through CPD, feeling valued and heard at work. Send them to training, hire a coach or provide someone who would help them develop their strengths and improve with weaknesses.

Infographic 96% of employees believe empathy increases retention - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

4. Work/Life Balance

Fostering a work-life balance for your employees requires a little creativity and discipline, but the results are overwhelming positive. Making this a priority can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and company image. But how can you balance productivity and happiness at work?

Flexible working, wherever possible, in combination with Project Management tools, such as instant messaging, can provide real-time solutions when team members work remotely. Allowing team members to adapt their hours and work locations means employees feel valued and, in turn, produce even better work. As a parent, childcare duties don’t always stop when you leave for work in the morning. A family-friendly work environment has proven to benefit both employers and employees in a variety of different industries. Understanding the challenges faced by working parents and having realistic communication which allows them to present solutions which balance business needs and their childcare demands.

Man with a post-it saying Be Happy on his forehead - Happiness at Work Octopus Personnel

When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and are able to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management.

Finally, model the right thing! If you want your team to keep a work/life balance, you need to make sure you are making those healthy choices too! It’s really important to encourage employees to be self-aware about their own personalities and tendencies, as some people are more prone to imbalances and stress than others. Through your words, actions, and example, emphasize the need to continually assess one’s goals to determine what brings satisfaction, inner peace, and balance. Empowering your employees to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling you to do what’s best and most effective for your company.

Have I convinced you? What have you got to lose?

Infographic showing 4 Business Benefits of using Octopus Personnel to Recruit

At Octopus Personnel, we take the well-being of our staff and candidates seriously. Years of industry expertise, a healthy dose of mindfulness and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to the right employee who will drive your business forward. Explore our services here or call the office on 01747 825568 to find out how we can support your staffing needs, be they temporary or permanent.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!