5 ways to cultivate a happy workplace

A happy workforce is a productive workforce.

A recent UK study showed that happy workers are at least 12% more productive than their less cheery co-workers, supporting what companies like Etsy, with its Gross Happiness Index for measuring employee happiness, already know – employee happiness really is the key to success.

Lift the happiness index of your own workforce in these five really simple ways, and watch productivity increase along with the smiles:

1. Stand up

Many employees freely admit they are not ‘morning people’. But when you need your team to fire on all cylinders from the get-go, change your morning meeting to a stand-up or huddle instead.

Stand-up meetings should be quick – no more than 15 minutes in total – and yes, conducted standing up. It’s a chance for the team to update each other on projects underway and share information about the day ahead.

Less formal than regular team meetings, stand-ups are a great low pressure/high engagement way to start the day, helping everyone stay on track.

2. Share content

When it comes to keeping employees motivated and happy, the Internet is your playground.

From insightful Ted Talks to Buzzfeed’s latest best-of list, make it a daily habit to source and share online content that inspires your team – or just as importantly, makes them laugh. Laughter is contagious after-all, and a great release button when those inevitable work pressures kick in.

3. Get comfortable

The physical environment has a great impact on the happiness of your employees and it is important to ensure people are comfortable for the eight hours or more they spend at work.

Bring in an ergonomics specialist to assess the workspace of each employee and, where possible, offer variations of the standard desk set-up. Stand-up desks, in particular, are a popular alternative. In fact, the Medical Journal of Australia recently published a report encouraging businesses to adopt a ‘standing desk’ policy for employees, advising that the excessive sitting required of most office workers (up to 75% of the working day) can have serious health and wellbeing consequences.

4. Celebrate the small stuff

All-staff functions and end-of-year celebrations are important cultural building blocks, but it is just as important to celebrate the smaller achievements that occur throughout the year too.

Sincere, personal gestures that acknowledge anniversaries and goals met (both inside and outside of work), help build a positive work environment, where employees feel valued for more than just the revenue they bring in.

5. Say thank you

Studies into positive psychology tell us that the humble 'thank you' is a significant happiness booster.

Sending a note of gratitude not only benefits the recipient (by helping you focus on positive experiences in the present), it boosts your own happiness quota too.

It’s celebrating the small stuff. You don’t have to wait until the end of a project or difficult task to say thanks for work well done. Spread the dopamine around by saying thank you at least once a day and encourage your (happy!) employees to do the same.

While SEEK partners with trusted contributors to bring you the latest insight and advice, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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Lorena Healey

Lorena Healey Consulting


Lorena Healey is an independent business consultant, specialising in culture alignment, employee engagement and leadership development. Prior to starting her own business, Lorena worked at SEEK from 2006 to 2014 in areas of organisational design,...

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