The International Week of Happiness at Work is an annual celebration observed from September 24 to 28. The event was started by two Dutch women, Fennande van der Meulen and Maartje Wolff. They are co-founders of Happy Office, a company they opened in 2015. Happy Office offers a happiness training program for the workplace that aims to make employees happier. The program is a result of the studies of top university professors in Europe and certified professionals that can help companies assess their individual worker’s problems at work.
The idea for the International Week of Happiness at Work was conceived by the founders of Happy Company towards the end of 2017, launching the program in the Netherlands in 2018. They were joined by Grupo Aukera’s Martín Leroy from Argentina.
They believed that when workers are happy at work, they not only perform better but also become better members of the community, better friends and most of all, better parents. The Happy Company founders want to connect various organizations, including NGOs, government, employers and employees so they can provide happiness at work. They encourage people to read and sign the Happiness at Work Manifesto.
Happiness at work
While there are many people who want to have a happy workplace, it is difficult for anyone to start it or maybe even know how and where to start. The International Week of Happiness at Work provides an option for workplaces to bring back happiness at work.
For most people, work is part of their life and having a happy work life means a happier daily life. Happiness at work should be incorporated into large and small corporations.
Creating a happy workplace
Business owners do not have to wait for a holiday like the International Week of Happiness at Work on the last week of September or the International Day of Happiness in the Workplace, a UN-initiated event celebrated every March 20 to have a happy workplace. The latter has the same concept as the weeklong event, although it is celebrated only for a day.
As mentioned, having a happy workplace should be a continuous program, not a one-off event that will be forgotten for the rest of the year. Everyone deserves to be happy and when a person is happy at work, it is carried over in the individual’s home life and family life.
It is essential for company owners to recognize that happiness is important to people anywhere they are. Happiness is relevant to the well-being of people and should be part of the objectives of public policies. When people are happy at work, their productivity levels go higher, turning the office into a place where workers will be more eager to report for work.
How should you encourage happiness at work? Even without proper training, if business owners are willing to bring happiness into their offices, they can do several things. Here are some tips.
1. Offer flexibility at work
Many employees feel stressed because their job lacks flexibility. Typically they have a fixed work schedule, which lead to many of them becoming unhappy after working on the same schedule for months or years. However, some people are also comfortable working on a fixed schedule because they can plan their days off work in an orderly manner.
If you haven’t done it yet, you can offer flexible work hours for your employees that will fit their needs. Many companies now allow some of their employees to work from home due to some personal reasons. Providing a flexible work schedule improves the mood of many employees because they are no longer restricted to specific work hours that cause them to stay in the office for 7 to 8 hours a day for 5 days. They will be happier as they can create their own work schedules and attend to some pressing personal matters without disrupting work.
2. Provide employees with clear goals
One way to motivate your employees and keep them happy is to give them clear goals that they can achieve. If they have a clear plan to work on and an attainable goal to pursue, your employees will be happier. Because they know where they are at and where they are going (the individual, the team, the office department or the company), they will be motivated. They know that they are part of the company’s plan, the company recognizes their contribution and they will be a part of the company’s success.
3. Promote creativity
Make your employees aware that you encourage them to think of creative ideas to tackle projects or find new solutions to problems. It is important for company executives and department heads to realize that people do not think alike and accepting new ideas will make your employees feel they are part of the creative thinking process. They may have different ideas and solutions that are more effective but were afraid to voice out because they think these would be unacceptable.
Encouraging them to share their ideas may mean improvement in the work process or time and money savings. Employees will be happier if they are aware that wrong practices and other issues can be changed because they are allowed to voice their concerns.
4. Recognize your employees
Recognizing your employees and their contributions to the company is one way to keep them happy. Establishing a reward program for your employees inspire them to work better. Rewarding employees for their contribution and effective work performance improves their happiness and productivity levels. Rewards do not have to be grand but such a positive gesture from management leads to a positive response from your employees. Express your gratitude for their work and be the first to show them respect.
Do remember that real happiness in the workplace is not about providing your employees with free snacks, nap times or even a short sports break. Achieving happiness is the workplace is the joy your employees will feel because they work hard to show their potential and doing something that will be significant. Company leaders should accept that building a culture of happiness in the workplace must be sustained as it involves the company’s long-term commitment to the program.
If you want your employees to be happy at work, you should:
- Match the employee’s strengths to the job
- Be a leader who cares for the employees’ development
- Create a mission or objective that gives them a sense of purpose
5. Invest in the happiness in the workplace program
While having goals is great for your team, it is not the sole objective. The process of establishing happiness in the workplace also involves enjoying the process of achieving it, which is a goal in itself. Because it is going to be a continuous process, it could be like any work process, where unexpected setbacks can occur. The main thing is to cultivate a culture of happiness where everyone in the office gets involved.
6. Encourage sharing of ideas and avoiding gossip
Office gossip is common but if you refuse to listen to it or discourage it, you increase productivity. Let it be known that gossiping is destructive, exclusionary and a time-waster. It distracts employees from work. You can put a stop to gossiping if you engage everyone to discuss ideas instead. As a leader, it is your job to seek their cooperation. Ask your employees questions. Seek their advice. Make sure that each one is part of a team. Know the people under you and learn their strengths and weaknesses. In this way, you can assign them tasks based on their capability.
7. Embrace diversity and equality
Today’s workforce is usually made up of employees of different ethnicities. Diversity in the workplace is now encouraged. However, there are still employees who are not want to work alongside people from different cultural backgrounds. Company leaders should create a workplace culture that accepts diversity and promotes equality. People from other cultures have different ways of looking at things and they should be encouraged to give voice to their concerns and ideas, which may present a simple solution to a lingering problem. Let your employees know that you will not tolerate inequality.
8. Share your company’s history
There are cases where employees do not know their company’s history. Employees feel a sense of belonging if they know how the company started and where it is today. Make them feel a sense of ownership. Mercedes-Benz made their employees feel proud about working for the company by allowing them to experience what it’s like to use their product. The company allowed their employees to take home a Mercedes-Benz car so they can show their families and friends the company and brand they represent.
A happy workplace at Day Translations
Creating a happy workplace is about allowing employees to exercise their rights and providing them with the mandated employee benefits. It is also about embracing diversity and equality. Day Translations, Inc. supports equality and diversity and provides its staff with all their rightful benefits. As a professional language service provider, Day Translations is experienced in having a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce across the globe. Our translators live in-country, assuring clients on the accuracy of their translation. For your translation and interpreting needs, give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us. You can get in touch with us any time of the day, as we are open 24/7, all year-round.
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