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Creating Happiness at Work. Guide for Managers

Dec 22, 2021
10 min read

We all know why creating happiness at work is good for employees, but did you know that it’s also good for your bottom line? Help instil a sense of wellness and joy at work with these tried and tested happiness-boosting methods.

Why Creating Happiness at Work is Important

There is an obvious answer to this. As a society, organizations that profit off the back of their employee’s labour must in exchange offer a duty of care – offering, not just money, but an environment of safety, wellness, and support. We might once have viewed our working life as a necessary toil to access joy and happiness in our private lives, but the general perspective is that today, we can do better. 

Since we spend 1/3 of our lives working, it makes sense that to flourish as a society, finding ways to institute happiness into our daily grind is vital to improving mental health and various other physical ailments, across the board.

Now did you know that creating happiness at work can also be good for your business?

That’s right. According to a study from the University of Warwick, happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy workers, and this stems from various factors.

Happy workers are more likely to stay loyal

The cost of interviewing for, onboarding and training new employees is a massive headache and very time inefficient. The longer an employee stays at a company, the better qualified they are to do their job, know the ropes and maximise efficiency. What would make them stay longer? Oh yes – a happy work environment!

Happy workers are motivated to perform better

Some people do their jobs at minimum energy. They do exactly what is necessary for them to get by, and nothing more. If employees see no direct benefits from increased output, it makes no sense for them to do so, especially if they do not care about the wider success of the company or the fulfilment of its vision.

Happy workers on the other hand, will feel far greater allegiance to their company, will seek to please their managers and will be motivated to go above and beyond for their team. Particularly for smaller teams, where “mucking in” is essential, this mindset is vital for company growth

Happiness reduces stress

Stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked employees are never efficient for your company in the long term. Sure, they might be working until 10pm each night, but they will experience burnout very quickly. Productivity paralysis is a commonly recognised phenomenon – where an individual is so stressed by the many tasks that they have ahead of them, that they simply end up doing none of them. The physical impacts of stress can also take their toll, leading to more sick days and extended absences. 

How to Create Happiness at Work

Leading a team or trying to boost the morale of your teammates can be a heavy burden. Some people naturally exude positive energy and hiring for these key players is an underrated aspect of hiring for culture fit. Most people, however, have natural ebbs and flows in their mood and might require additional support to stay motivated and uplifted.

If you’re a team leader, here are a few strategies you could implement to help boost morale. 

Offer regular and consistent praise

Praising your team is one of the best things you can do. As humans, we can’t help but crave validation and support for the work we are doing, especially if we’ve gone the extra mile on a project. Be sure to call out good work any time you spot it, and offer regular, genuine, praise to everyone on your team individually. At the end of each week, gather everyone (or post in Slack, if remote) to offer a strong message of support for all their work, thanking their efforts and encouraging them to keep it up.

Reward them appropriately

In general, people are far more inclined to offer loyalty than resentment, provided you give them the same. This naturally comes down to paying a fair wage, but small bonuses, gifts, treats and/or days off can also speak volumes about your appreciation for their efforts. 

Understand your team culture

Some teams thrive through competition, whilst others prefer more collaborative approaches. Find out more about your team, whether it be through individual meetings or a psychometric survey (such as team culture measurement tools). From there, you can figure out what will best energise your team – be it friendly competitions for best performance, or uplifting meetings at the end of each week.

Host team building events 

Be careful with this one. A lot of managers get this sorely wrong, (think Michael Scott from the Office), and end up putting their employees through a painful and tedious day of activities. Forget trying to get a contrived lesson across and focus more on a day of genuine fun – such as a cookout together, a boat tour or citywide scavenger hunt. When in doubt, spend the majority of your activities budget on free food and drink for your team.

Commit to an Individual Development Plan

A growing initiative in many big businesses is the Individual Development Plan (IDP), a form of Employee Wellness Programme that helps individuals develop their skills and realise their goals. Have a meeting with each member of your team once or twice a year, to sketch out their long-term goals and develop concrete actionable steps to achieve them. This may also involve covering or subsidising the costs of education and training courses. 

Prioritise Work-Life Balance

Any good employer knows that “shit happens” and accommodating for this will be rewarded with powerful loyalty. Whether it be an employee desperately needing a day off to destress or come in late whilst they take their kids to school – demonstrate respect and trust for your employees by allowing them these moments of flexibility. 

Similarly, respect their out-of-hours time. This means no calls or emails on weekends and no pressure to stay past 5pm. Their time off is vital to destressing and will allow them to come back on Monday morning rejuvenated and motivated. 

How to Create Happiness for Your Teammates

Happiness at work is the responsibility of everyone, and there are many ways you can help your team flourish. If you feel like the morale of your colleagues is low, consider taking these steps to inject enthusiasm into your office and improve collective happiness.

Praise your colleagues

Imagine coming back to your desk and seeing a little anonymous post-it that says, “Well done on your presentation – you did great!” It would probably make your week. Such an act takes minimal effort but goes a very long way. People are also chameleons. If you start praising others, chances are they’ll quickly repay the favour, and you’ll reap the benefits of praise and validation yourself.

Suggest fun activities 

Every team needs this person, so why not make it yourself? Create a cake rota, for people to bring in cake each Friday. Suggest drinks on Thursday evenings at a bar down the road. Create a group chat for the office and then spam it with homemade memes. Sure, it may be a little corny, but secretly everyone loves it. 

Turn dull tasks into games

Some projects require serious concentration and others could probably be done in your sleep. If you’ve been tasked to scan 1000 documents, turn it into a game and get your colleagues involved. Messing about at work might once have been criticised, but recent studies into gamification have all pointed to the way people are inherently motivated by competition – which can be a great boost to your productivity. 

Ultimately, happiness at work is not just important for you, it’s important for the success of the whole company. Whether you’re an intern finding novel ways to gamify repetitive tasks, or a founder seeking to create a top-down culture of wellbeing – happiness is a vital part of working life that is finally getting the attention it needs. 

If you want to engage your teammates using a fun and useful tool, check out our Growth Mindset assessment – we promise it’s fun, short and useful to everyone on your team!

Keep up the good work and I hope you have a great day! 


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