International Week of Happiness at Work: what makes your employees tick

Happiness is something everybody aspires to achieve, not only in their personal lives but also at work. To highlight the important message of International Week of Happiness at Work, a variety of tech industry experts share their tips and real-life examples of how their businesses promote happiness in the workplace.

Last year the Dutch co-founders of Happy Office, Fennande van der Meulen and Maartje Wolff, declared the third week of September the International Week of Happiness at Work.

With over 50% of employees in the US placing more importance on workplace happiness than pay, it is now more important than ever for companies to prove their worth when it comes to making the workplace a happy one.

To show their dedication to this cause, four technology industry experts share their tips and real-life examples of how to promote happiness in business culture.

“According to a report from Huff Post Australia, people only spend an average of 328 days of their life socialising with friends,” revealed Bethany Allee, Vice President of Marketing at Cybera.

“However, the average person spends 13 years and two months at work. That’s a big chunk of your life. I totally support the sentiment of the Happiness At Work initiative.

“At Cybera we believe that we should leave the day better than we found it, at work and in the community. For our employees, this means creating a challenging environment that cultivates growth. For the Cybera team, quality isn’t a goal, it’s a lifestyle—inside the office and out. We cultivate teamwork and reward excellence.”

Positive mental health in the workplace

Liam Butler, Area Vice President at SumTotal, believes that promoting good mental health in the workplace is essential, stating: “Chronic unhappiness within a job role can lead to an employee quitting their job or failing to perform. A positive environment can lead to increased productivity and employee engagement, greater satisfaction amongst the workforce and improved business ROI.

“Today’s workforce values greater flexibility, recognition of achievement and better opportunities for personal and professional development, often over financial incentives.

“Many organisations have come to realise that more employees will stay longer if they can see a career path within the company. However, with the dissolution of traditional career ladders, demonstrating this can be challenging for employers.

“By allowing employees to explore desired roles within their organisation, Learning & Development (L&D) initiatives can help them see where the opportunities are and where they have gaps in their experience. They can also connect employees to the relevant learning they need to progress a career in their chosen direction.” 

Liam continues: “To attract workers and ensure that they remain happy, motivated and productive, businesses will need to integrate professional development opportunities into their benefits packages. As Richard Branson – one of the most recognisable figures in UK business – famously said: ‘Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’

“Great leaders know that improving employee engagement has a significant impact on business performance. Embrace making employees happier and reap the rewards: better financial performance, higher customer satisfaction, higher employee retention, and more productive employees.”

Workplace incentives

Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting pointed out that: “Many employers will claim that they are creating a healthy office environment, but it takes actual commitment and investment to make a real difference.

“For example, at Hyve, we want to ensure that health and happiness amongst our employees is not just a one-off every few months, but part of the everyday. So we have made creating the healthiest office environment in the region a key business objective.

“Organisations must understand that happiness at work is more than just skin-deep: they should invest in solutions and rewards that will positively impact their team in the long-run, as well as the short-run.

“It is progress to have things such as flexible working hours, or a chill-out area complete with ping-pong tables and barbeques to make lunch hours more fun. But, it is also vital to acknowledge that health and mindfulness are key contenders feeding into happiness at work.

“At Hyve, we have regular yoga classes, free healthy lunches and a bike-to-work scheme to promote this. We have also invested in ergonomic furniture, including standing desks and adjustable monitor arms, following a trial earlier this year. These are designed to help make the work we do less straining on the team.

“There are simple and effective steps that businesses can and should make to improve their employees’ wellbeing and happiness. And this International Week of Happiness at Work should serve as a reminder of that.”

Kleopatra Kivrakidou, Channel Marketing Manager EMEA at Ergotron, agreed on the benefits that movement can have on the workforce. “This International Week of Happiness at Work should be the perfect reminder to businesses across the world of the vital role that employee satisfaction plays for companies as a whole. The focus should not only be on providing fun reward schemes and employee benefits outside of the working day, but also on making those working hours more comfortable, productive, and flexible.

“Initiatives that encourage movement in the workplace are an excellent way of helping staff-members feel more happy and healthy. Many companies are now investing in products and solutions that can be tailored to individuals’ needs, which can make a huge difference to productivity; for example, ergonomic office furniture or work-from-home schemes.

“Other factors like a change of scene in the workplace, or simply standing up to work rather than sitting down, are extremely valuable for workers since they help to promote good physical and mental health. After all, remaining static all day is not natural for humans. Give your employees the chance to be more productive, more flexible, and they’ll be happier because of it.”

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