Recently, I came accross thie TEDx talk where Nic Marks – founding director of Happiness Works, a company that focuses on science-based, responsive analytics to kickstart new ways to happiness and productivity within the workplace – speaks about happiness and work.
Does success lead to happiness? If we work hard first, will it pay in terms of happiness later on? According to statistics presented by Nic Marks, we should first look towards happiness in order to achieve success and then build on that to support a virtuous cycle. Nic also shares some secrets on how we can build on happiness in our everyday working lives:
He expresses exactly what I feel when he says that when people are happy in their roles, happy with their colleagues and managers, happy with the work they do and the services and support that they provide, they are far more productive, effective and efficient in their roles than when they are simply happy with their earnings. Happiness impacts productivity far more than productivity impacts happiness. And isn’t this what all companies and employers want?
Nic Marks believes that there are five main factors in creating a happy workplace:
The first is relationships (connect). “To be happy you need to get along with your colleagues, but also your suppliers and customers.”
The second factor is fairness (be fair). Employees should feel that they are being fairly remunerated for their efforts. “Along with fair pay, if an employer treats their staff fairly by providing a good work-life balance employees will be happier. Being supported and receiving the right training for the work they’re required to do makes employees feel content in their working lives. There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared for a task and panicking.”
The third factor is about feeling in control (empower). While there is joy in a job well done, there are few things more frustrating than feeling we could do a good job if only we were allowed to get on with it. People need to feel in control. In fact, a sense of helplessness is one of the main factors in depression. In contrast, people who have a sense of ownership with their work are far more motivated, creative, productive and happy than those forced to work by rewards and punishments.
The fourth essential factor is challenge. “Nobody wants too little work, because then you feel demotivated. Likewise too much leads to stress. Human beings love challenges, so we should relish that,” says Marks.
The fifth and final factor is to work on altruistic projects (inspire). Believing our actions make a positive contribution to the world engenders a sense of purpose, vitalizing us with increased engagement, motivation and creativity. “Meaningful and worthwhile work creates a happy employee.”
If you would like to take a closer look at your personal happiness level at work, try the “Happiness at Work Survey” and find out if there’s room for improvement.