Easy ways to grow workplace happiness

Stop, and smile often! Even quick mindfulness exercises can increase workplace happiness. (Photo via Lorie Shaull, Flickr)

Do you and your team need a workplace happiness boost? Time to find new ways to strengthen and grow workplace happiness!

Today is International Day of Happiness! In celebration, make a commitment to increase the happiness levels at your company this spring.
We spend at least a third of our lives at work, according to Lifehack, and “this can be a scary fact for some to face.”
“Because so much of your life is spent at work, a huge deciding factor in your wellbeing is whether or not you’re happy at work,” Lifehack’s Matt Valentine writes.
With the right conditions and practices, we all should be able to derive a sense of joy from our work, feel connected to it and believe that we’re making a positive impact on some portion of the world, however small.
But, as Gallup research continues to reveal, this isn’t the reality for most Americans. The majority of American workers aren’t engaged in or committed to their work.
“Gallup research shows that for a few select managers, naturally engaging their teams to be their best every day comes so instinctively they don’t even realize they’re doing it,” according to a Gallup blog post on creating everyday engagement.
“But there is hope for the rest of us,” Gallup’s Jake Herway and Jeremy Pietrocini write. And it’s worth pursuing: “Top teams that address engagement needs in their everyday work outperform bottom teams by an average 20 percent in sales and 10 percent in customer engagement.”
Growing everyday workplace happiness takes some effort — it means asking the right questions, empowering employees to do their best and taking time daily to engage and appreciate employees. Read on for easy tips to inspire your own workplace happiness transformation.

The Secrets to Workplace Happiness

A survey of 20,000 tech workers last year found an astonishing level of job satisfaction. When asked whether they feel appreciated on the job, 72 percent of respondents replied yes, and 71 percent said they feel their career allows for solid work-life balance.
Why are these employees in tech so much happier than the average American worker? In short…

  • jobs that allow for some creativity
  • family-friendly workplaces
  • a feeling of belonging with coworkers
  • meaningful work that provides a sense of purpose

These results can be replicated in any industry, however. And they’re built through small, everyday actions. Here are eight things you can do this week to strengthen and grow workplace happiness in your company, regardless of industry.

8 Everyday Ways to Grow Workplace Happiness

1. Check Your Team for Burnout
Once in a while it’s good to stop and take an inventory of your burnout risk, according to former Help Scout strategist Gregory Ciotti. He suggests the Maslach Burnout Inventory test. You can also try this free online burnout self-test from MindTools. Use this time of self-reflection by yourself or with others to think about what’s going right, what’s not and how to move forward.

Growing workplace happiness can be as easy.

Growing workplace happiness can be as easy as personally thanking team members for great work. Share your gratitude today!

2. Give 5 Minutes of Your Time
Have a cup of coffee with an employee or just spend 5 minutes chatting. A few minutes devoted to an employee can make a huge difference in their engagement.
Amit Singh, then president of Google for Work, explained one of his early leadership lessons in a New York Times’ Corner Office Q&A last year:

“It doesn’t always take that much to reach out and connect with people. We have a very flat structure at Google, and it’s pretty open. Anybody can come into my office and say, ‘Hey, I want to have a cup of coffee with you.’ I remember being so motivated by a leader who always felt so accessible even though he spent all of five minutes with me.”

3. Promote Mindfulness
Are your company leaders and supervisors practicing mindfulness? Companies like Google, General Mills, Intel, Aetna and Goldman Sachs already swear by mindfulness as a practice to help employees focus, stay creative and be happy. Find specific mindfulness tips and ideas in our blog post, “Recharge Your Workplace Gratitude Culture with Mindfulness.”
4. Give Employees a Chance to Shine
What happens when a manager gives an employee the chance to control an aspect of the business, no matter how small? The employee develops a sense of ownership, and that’s critical to building motivation, according to BetterCloud chief executive David Politis:

“I’m also a big believer in giving people ownership of certain areas in the business. It’s amazing what happens when you do that. People want to make a difference, and when you give them an area of the business that they can affect, the amount of stuff that gets done, and the pride in their work is amazing.”

5. Remote Employees? Team Up for Get-to-Know-You Time
Keeping remote workers engaged and connected is “the eternal quest,” as Trello blogger Lydia M. puts it. One way she and other Trello employees stay connected is through a game called “Mr. Rogers.”
Each week, two employees are randomly paired, and for 15 minutes they are tasked with hopping on a video call and getting to know one another. It’s become a popular activity for employees — not only do they get to know each other personally, they’re better able understand the company and do their jobs.
6. Go Outside
It’s spring! If you and your team have been stuck indoors all winter, take time for an outdoor picnic or walk. See the bushes budding, breathe in that fresh air, enjoy the warm sun.
Even moving your morning meeting into a room with natural light could help: “Office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace,” according to a study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
7. Share a Small Gift
Gift-giving feels good and makes others feel good! What’s not to love? And even the smallest of gifts — a Thank You note, a $5 gift certificate, a platter of homemade cookies — stand out in the workplace, according to Menlo College president Richard A. Moran.
“The workplace consists of very few pleasant surprises. … A pleasant and welcome surprise goes a long way,” Moran writes in his LinkedIn post, “3 Reasons Why the Smallest of Gifts Matter.”
8. Smile and Say Thank You
The average adult manages a smile just seven times a day — and one of those smiles might be fake. Yikes!
Stop, take a deep breath and give yourself or your team a reason to (genuinely) smile. Pass it on — smile at an employee you normally never interact with, and thank that person for their work. These little interactions spread happiness contagiously and make anyone’s day better.

Make Every Day Happy in Your Workplace

Download your FREE Day-to-Day Employee Recognition Calendar, your guide to building a successful workplace culture of positivity and gratitude.

“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author

The gThankYou Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free.
Here’s to a happier workplace in 2017!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates, Ham Gift Certificates, and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou are America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any brand (Turkey, Ham, or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any grocery store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

To learn more about gThankYou, watch our “About Us” Video and visit gThankYou today!

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-609-2234.

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