Happiness at work

Business is all about people.

Yet, this is normally forgotten about. It’s not unusual for people to believe that the person who comes into work is different to the person at home. The idea that the ‘work you’ does not have emotions, or at least definitely shouldn’t express them.

But we’re beginning to realise that there’s something fundamentally wrong with this. We’re beginning to recognise that by allowing people to be themselves, by encouraging people to bring their whole selves to work, they will be happier and more productive. It’s all a bit too obvious though, isn’t it?

I love this quote from Jenni Lloyd, which sums it up perfectly:

Why can’t we bring all of the things we’ve got, to work? What does it mean for those businesses if all they’ve got access to is our hands? But not really to our brains and our best ideas and not really to our hearts where our passion is?

So, the next step is to change the systems and processes which we have built with this false perception at the heart. And it has to start with the individual. That’s where effective change always starts.

It’s worth mentioning that this blog post has been spurred on because I’ve just returned from a 3 month sabbatical, backpacking around South East Asia. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But instead of leaving NixonMcInnes, I found a way that met both our needs. I found a way to do something I really wanted to do and I feel even more engaged and happy working for NM.

Whilst I was away, I was thinking about I want out of life. I’ve always been very ambitious, but at that moment I found something that I realised was even more important to me – Fun, happiness.

A very happy moment for me

A very happy moment for me during my travels – feeling the fear and doing it anyway

I’ve always had a lot of fun doing what I do and I’m lucky to be at a company who invests so much into the happiness of the team. But, I think I personally had got bogged down and forgotten how important it is to have fun and be happy at work.

So, before returning to work, I made a promise to myself – to have more fun at work. I know from personal experience that I am better at my job when I’m happy. It makes me less stressed and bucket loads more productive.

I shared my promise with my team and they invited me to help them stick to this as well. So, I took this happiness at work survey and created a happiness action plan.

Here are the 5 things I’ve found to be most successful so far:

  1. Writing down in my notepad everyday “How can I make today great?” and then writing down three ways I can achieve it
  2. Taking advantage of flexible working and working wherever suits my mood e.g. from my garden when the sun is shining
  3. Spending more time with colleagues e.g. inviting people to lunch or just simply by making more of an effort to ask people how they’re doing
  4. Working at a slower pace and building in more breaks for thinking and creativity
  5. Sitting in different places around the office and swapping desks. This is surprisingly effective!

What works for you? I’d love to hear some other tips!


Happiness at work

One of the things less discussed in business is happiness.

We’re very fond of happiness here at NM Towers – we measure it with tennis balls & buckets every day, we talk about it at the beginning of every meeting &, more importantly, we act on it when we’re not happy.

We recognise that happiness is the key to a passionate and motivated workforce.

That’s why, as part of our annual Meaning Conference this year, we’ve invited good friend & Chief Happiness Officer (my favourite job title of all time!), Alexander Kjerulf, to facilitate a workshop – to help others create a happier and more productive workplace.

Here’s Alexander at last year’s conference on the subject, which got us all off our seats:

Check it out or sign up: http://2013.meaningconference.co.uk/#workshops/alexander-kjerulf