Work

Happiness at work is more than the sum of its parts

| Updated on: Aug 09, 2021
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Interventions for promoting happiness at the workplace must start with a paradigm shift

* Probe further and you find so many people today keep thinking about work assignments even at night and fear losing their jobs

* Organisations must discard and discontinue certain flawed principles and practices

* We should remember that people are generally ready to forgive mistakes, but they will never ever forget the intent of our actions

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It’s a time when individuals are experiencing crushing personal grief, and organisations are reeling from the unprecedented downturn.

More people today are suffering from anxiety, depression, or sleeplessness than ever before. Continuous calls, unrealistic targets, doubled workload and fear of failure are causing endless stress. Life appears to be overbooked and over-scheduled.

Just look around and see how many people today complain of feeling exhausted after work. This is in a way the litmus test of happiness as those who love their work and feel valued at their workplace would generally feel more energetic at the end of the day.

What has exacerbated their agony, however, is the inability to interact with people in person to share their concerns and seek guidance. Probe further and you find so many people today keep thinking about work assignments even at night and fear losing their jobs. Also at the back of the mind is a feeling of guilt at work which is preventing them from taking care of their parents and spending quality time with family.

Unhappiness is rising and organisations need to take note as it directly impacts productivity. They cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand.

The interventions for promoting happiness at the workplace must start with a paradigm shift. To begin with, organisations must discard and discontinue certain flawed principles and practices. First among them is the cardinal management principle: You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it . The rationale is simple. Happiness, just like honesty and integrity, is a value that can’t be measured. So, any attempt to measure happiness will only give wrong results. The second principle that organisations must disown is the notion that happiness can be created. Happiness is integral to what we do, how we do and more importantly, why we do. So, swanky offices, elegant cabins, fancy designations, and upmarket canteens all just add up to be furniture if employees do not feel empowered enough to express themselves without fear of consequences. And, finally, organisations must stop treating everyone with the same yardstick. Everyone is unique and must be treated accordingly. A bell curve thus can never be a bellwether for mapping and rewarding talent.

At the same time, employees cannot relinquish their responsibility. After all, an organisation is nothing but a group of people working together for a common goal. As individuals, we can all contribute to the creation of a desired ambience for happiness at the workplace by following some simple rules :

Create excitement at work: This should be the chief role of every individual in every organisation. If people take pride in and know the purpose of what they do, work becomes a joy, and success an obvious outcome.

Lead with love and learn to serve: The role of leadership is not to dominate but to serve with respect and humility. People often reciprocate if we appreciate their strengths and not just criticise them for their shortcomings. More importantly, it allows people to differ and disagree without being disrespectful to each other.

Build and nurture relationships: There are enough studies to prove that people do not work for an organisation but for the people they work with. So, it makes business sense to help and be available for each other.

Focus on process: Just by ensuring people are doing the right things will go a long way in winning the trust and respect of people. Employees feel empowered if they are evaluated for the efforts they make and not just the results they achieve.

Live in the present: We often miss the fun of work as we worry too much about the future. While its critical to predict and to be ready for the future, it’s equally important to enjoy the moment we are living in.

Do small things right: One need not create five-star facilities to make employees happy at a workplace. What they appreciate more is whether they received help when they needed it the most. Sometimes, a genuine phone call to enquire about a colleague’s well-being can do wonders.

Celebrate key milestones: We all need encouragement in our pursuit of excellence. In sports we often see players appreciating each other throughout the game. Every time a wicket falls in a cricket match or a goal is scored in a soccer game or a point is scored in a basketball tournament, the players jump with joy and cheer. Their actions are spontaneous. That’s what we need to do at the workplace to keep the momentum going.

Try to be fair to all: It’s practically impossible to be fair to everyone, all the time. But what may tilt the balance in our favour is the trust of our people that we tried to be fair to them. We should remember that people are generally ready to forgive mistakes, but they will never ever forget the intent of our actions.

Do not worry about who gets the credit: This is easier said than done. But ir is possible only when we walk the talk by delivering and displaying what’s important for us to do.

Learn to deal with unhappiness: Finally, let’s not forget that life is a roller-coaster ride, and it is bound to go through highs and lows. We will appreciate the true value of happiness only when we are aware of the real pains of unhappiness.

Happiness at the workplace is not one thing. It’s more than the sum of what we do, what we believe in, and most importantly what we value. It’s time we paused and reflected on the meaning of what we want to achieve in our lives. The busyness of our business must give way to the loveliness of life. It’s possible only if we prioritise people over profit, heart count over head count, engagement over experiment and purpose over performance.

Let’s make a choice!

Mukund Trivedy is the national head, communications and media relations, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages

Published on August 09, 2021

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