Yes. Yes, it is! Ignoring happiness at work is bonkers.
There are ridiculous amounts of research showing that having happier, more engaged employees leads to less sickness, less employee turnover and greater innovation. You’ll also have happier, more willing-to-spend customers, more profit etc… So why are more organisations not doing everything they can to help people become happier?
Because it is hard.
Happiness is totally subjective - it’s a complex thing. It is not one-size-fits-all. And it’s not taught. So, so many people do not know how to personally achieve happiness - how insane is this? So, an employer asking the average person - what makes them happy, they might not even know. More money? More holidays? More flexibility? Free breakfast? Not a clue.
So where do you start?
Firstly, how are your people? In themselves? Are they actually ok? Do you know? We have been through a lot in 2020. People will have lost loved ones, had to juggle work and childcare, deal with the loss of freedoms we once took for granted, manage relationships with no downtime, or have even spent months alone. Your health and safety responsibilities as an employer do not stop at personal protective equipment. Do your managers know how to have difficult conversations? Ask difficult questions? Are they ok being uncomfortable? Have they checked people are coping?
One thing that we have learned during these weird COVID times is that not all jobs have to be done sitting in a specific chair at a specific office with people being constantly ‘supervised’. We had to adapt and be more flexible during lockdown, working in different ways. Have you asked your people where they work best? Is it in the office? At home? A mix of both? Is it possible to accommodate everyone’s preferred choice? So they can be happier and more productive? Fairness is all about treating people equally, not necessarily the same.
Talking about productivity, do your people know what they are good at doing in work? Where they perform at their best and their strengths shine through? People are so much more effective when they are doing something they enjoy. Can you jiggle peoples’ jobs about a bit so they are doing what they love?
Finally - do your people understand how their role contributes to the success of the organisation? How their individual efforts make a difference to the world? People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression, so less time away from work.
Go on, give it a try… what’s the worst that can happen? It might even be fun.