Happiness and the Workplace

Image courtesy of Matteo Martinello's photostream

Image courtesy of Matteo Martinello’s photostream

You may have heard this sage advice before: “Love what you do, do what you love.” Such a simple notion that seems oft overlooked in our daily lives. Whether you’re on your social media accounts reading your friends’ or family members’ complaints about the day/week they’re having at work, or joining the daily water cooler discussions at your own job, you always read about or hear from people who just aren’t happy with what they’re doing. Maybe one of those people is you; you use the phrase “under-appreciated and over-worked” or you dread that 6 a.m. alarm each morning. So you think: What’s the point in being happy at work? Sure, happiness is key, but is it really going to affect my bottom-line? In short, yes. The research seems to definitively point to the idea that happy people do better at work, plain and simple.

Here’s how:

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a survey where they polled employees of various Fortune 500 companies about how happiness affected their ability to work in teams and how they viewed others who were happy around them in the workplace. The results showed that happier team members worked more cohesively and happier groups were, on average, up to 50% more productive than teams full of unhappy people. This is perhaps attributed to the fact that happiness in the workplace positively impacts creativity and problem solving. Happier people have loftier goals, are more effective at achieving them and work toward them for longer periods of time than do unhappy, unmotivated people.

According to iOpener Institute, the happiest employees at work take 1/10th the sick leave of their least happy colleagues, are six times “more energized” and intend to stay twice as long at their current place of employment.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that happy people earn more respect, to the tune of 28% more respect from their peers and 31% more respect from their supervisors. This contributes to the findings of a study done by Michael Como of Illinois Wesleyan University which states that “…people with higher self-esteem and a more positive outlook when they are young earn more in the marketplace later in life than their counterparts who are less positive and have lower self-esteem.”

So there you have it, happiness leads to success. But what if you are one of those who dreads that 6 a.m. alarm, who is the social media complainer or who is the water cooler whiner? How can you brighten your outlook on work and life in general? About.com featured an article discussing the “Top Ten Ways to Be Happy at Work.” It’s a worthwhile read, and you can check it out for yourself here.

With the days of summer upon us, our moods tend to improve as the cold, bitter, rainy weather moves away. Why not capitalize by taking some of these recommendations to heart and reap the rewards of a happier, more motivated you.


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