How to increase your work happiness and well-being
My first boss once told me that a job should be fun, bring in money and make a difference - otherwise it was not worth spending time on it. I remembered his words when I started to think about this article. Not that long ago, people did not necessarily believe that happiness and work belonged together. It was nice to have an interesting, well-paid job and a promising career, but happiness did not come into it. Happiness was enjoying free weekends, private life in other words. Looking back at history, wealthy men were never fans of work. They could afford to spend their time on philosophy, hunting or whatever else.
Times have changed and work plays an increasingly important role in our search for happiness. People want to identify with their job and find fulfilment. What’s more, they are willing to work hard - sometimes too hard. Every year the UN is publishing a World Happiness Report. The happiest countries are Finland, Norway and Denmark. Leo Bormans, author of the bestseller “The world book of happiness”, goes so far as to say that the Western economy is changing from a money to a satisfaction economy.
However, when we take a look at statistics regarding happiness at work, the results aren’t that promising. A Stepstone study shows that happiness at work is limited. People are happier in their private lives. Gallup found out that only 20% of workers believe that they can bring out their best skills and qualities in daily work. 65% of Americans can’t remember having received any positive feedback at work in the previous month. It was also insightful to read that people feel less happy when their direct boss is present. Obviously it's still difficult for managers to build trusting relationships.
1. Meaningful results is not about completing a task or meeting a deadline. It’s the feeling that your work makes sense, contributes to something and makes a difference.
2. 80% of our positive feelings at work come from good relationships. Having respect for each other, working hand in hand and talking about something other than work give people energy. Good relationships also help you to be perseverant in difficult times.
And ... how do you feel about your job?
If you are unhappy in your job, this might have a negative impact on your private life. Check quickly whether you are enjoying your work by answering these questions:
Summing up: People look for happiness at work and in their private life. If you love what you do, you are also happier in your private life. Happy workers are more committed and productive, which is important for organisations. Companies cannot influence whether people have chosen the right profession or if they ultimately enjoy what they are doing, but they can create the framework to ensure that people feel appreciated, have sufficiently interesting jobs and provide a good working atmosphere.
© Krauthammer International, October 2013.
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