The 12 Steps to Worker Happiness, and beyond!

by Louise Brace

What does it take for you to get up every morning and go to work? For millions of people all around the world, Happiness at Work is a myth and getting up and going to work every day, just plain sucks.

Others consider job satisfaction is as good as it gets; after all getting paid at the end of the month isn’t something to scoff at. But there is a big difference between job satisfaction and being motivated, engaged and genuinely happy to get up and go to work every day in your organization.

At the end of last year, I came across a post on Facebook announcing the position as Content Writer for a project called Happy Melly. The message was intriguing and I headed off to find out more.

What I found fascinated me even more. A project dedicated to making people be happier at work. Wow! Here was a group of people that actually care about how happy we are at work, and want to do something to help the poor souls who feel unhappy in their organization.

After 28 years of working for dozens of companies – some with an excellent employee awareness culture and others who just didn’t care about who or how they made a profit, just so long as they did. I decided I wanted to get involved with Happy Melly, so I could learn for myself what makes people happy at work and how I could help others adopt a happier work regime.
In January 2015, I was one of eight lucky people who got picked to work on the Happy Melly project and it makes me proud to say, that our work does make a difference to the happiness, motivation and engagement of so many employees around the world.

None of us knew whether the idea would work, or was just completely insane, yet all of us were up for taking part and believed in the purpose. I have learnt so much in the last six months. I have discovered that when I felt unhappy at work, it often wasn’t my fault. Just that the powers that be in the organization, were not heeding the needs of their employees.
Much research has gone into benchmarking Worker Happiness and how it affects engagement and productivity of the workforce.

Chicken and Egg illustration Chad Geran

Does worker happiness increase employee engagementOr does employee engagement create worker happiness?


The founder of Happy Melly and creator of Management 3.0, Jurgen Appelo, decided to create a whole management module on the Happiness of Workers. I was lucky enough to collaborate with him on the book chapter, which will soon to be available for download.

We decided it doesn’t really matter which comes first. What does matter is that increasing worker happiness and increasing employee engagement, directly increases productivity, innovation and profitability.

To help organizations around the world focus on the happiness of their workforce, and as part of the Worker Happiness module, Jurgen created the…

12 Steps to Worker Happiness (all backed by science we might add)

Thank someone and be appreciative towards your colleagues, every single day. Showing gratitude for the great work your team have done, plays a big part in their motivation and cultivates a culture of employee connection and motivation.

Give something to another person or make it possible for others to give gifts. You could show your appreciation by using a Kudo Box and Kudo Cards.

Help someone who needs assistance, or enable colleagues to help each other. It’s not easy for everyone to hold their hand up and ask for help. Pairing coworkers can often help less confident employees find the help they need. And be a more accessible boss!

Eat well, and make good, healthy foods easily available for everyone. A healthy diet stimulates the mind and body, and improves productivity.

Exercise regularly and make it easy for people to take care of their body. Love it, or hate it, exercise stimulates mind and body. Healthier workers are happier and more productive workers!

Rest well, sleep sufficiently and enable colleagues to refresh their minds. Working long hours without taking sufficient breaks, actually decreases productivity.

Experience new things, try stuff out, and let people run all kinds of experiments.  Real innovation comes from employees, not management.

Hike outdoors, enjoy nature, and allow people an escape from the city. Organize a group trip to the countryside on a regular basis. It will do you and your team the world of good!

Meditate and get people to adopt mindfulness practices in the workplace. We’re often so busy being busy, we forget our brain needs love and attention too.
S

ocialize, relate to other people, and make it easy for colleagues and coworkers to interact and develop a deeper connection.

Aim for a goal and get people to understand and realize their own purpose. Involving your employees in the company objective will give them purpose, which in turn increases motivation levels.

Smile whenever you can, appreciate humour, and get colleagues to engage in fun activities. Because work doesn’t have to be serious to be engaging.

In this day and age, we can no longer leave management solely to the managers. We must all be champions of our workplace transformation; from office apathy, to an engaging and happy environment, in which we’re all as productive as worker bees!

If you want to be the difference in your organization and get people jumping out of bed to get to work, we recommend you share the 12 Steps to Worker Happiness with your coworkers and management team.

You can download the download the 12 Steps to Happiness poster and send us photos of it stuck up on your office wall. Tell us what steps you’re using to make your organization a happier place to work 🙂

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