How happy are you at work? According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, people who are happy at work are more collaborative, productive, and have better relationships with their colleagues. But how do you make your workplace happier?
What is Happiness?
Creating a happy workplace starts with the meaning of the word: “happiness”. The first to investigate “happiness” was the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (369 - 286 BC).
Aristotle said, ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves,’ meaning that how people enjoy what they have and how much they appreciate the essence of life, define happiness. So, it’s up to the individuals to value happiness and even figure out what immense happiness means to them.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘happiness is the feeling of being happy.’ Reflecting that happiness is an emotional state characterised by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfilment. While happiness has many different definitions, it’s often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. And because happiness tends to be such a broadly defined term, psychologists and other social scientists typically use the term “subjective well-being" when they talk about this emotional state.
Taking It Down to Everyday Life, What Makes Us Happy?
It leads us to the next question: how do we become happy workers?
Both Aristotle and Zhuangzi concluded that the role of the human mind is critical in the quest for happiness. Both draw a clear distinction between two kinds of happiness explained by the Greek, hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (a life well lived).
More recently it was psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908 - 1970) who investigated what makes us happy. In 1943, he formulated Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, also known as the “Pyramid of Happiness”. In the pyramid of happiness, health, and well-being is in “Safety” and they’re one of the basic needs for humans to achieve happiness.
When the global pandemic struck, it influenced mental health in many countries. Our well-being was negatively influenced by the fact that we couldn’t go to work as well as the concern for our health was on high risk. The economic insecurity is associated with a 12% decline in life satisfaction. And looking at the report Worlds Happiness Report 2021: Life under the global pandemic, the mental health problems was reported to be 47% higher. This reflects that more than 42 countries shows a significantly higher frequency of negative emotions, giving that the lives of the citizens have been disrupted. But on the positive side, the pandemic has shone a light on mental health with more public awareness of human well-being than ever before.
Aspects as company culture, colleague relations, and the space to ease different work modes were standing as some of the things we value. They are also what makes us happy at work. We saw the impact the office gave us and how the small coffee runs, the lunch conversation, and the short distance searching for help.