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Workplace happiness: From positivity to productivity

Emmanuel Zvada

BY Emmanuel Zvada
DID you know that happy employees are an invaluable asset to any organization and they radiate positivity and camaraderie which benefits the organization? It may seem strange to be talking about happiness to Zimbabweans, but it’s crucial as it assists employers to create engaged company cultures which will make employees happy. Considering a myriad of problems faced by Zimbabwe such as high cost of living, devalued salaries, increase in prices of basic commodities and shortage of transport to go to work etc, there is also need for employers to devise strategies to create a culture of happiness for them to realize productivity.

What is workplace happiness?

Happiness is a key component to any thriving organisation. For some, workplace happiness can mean getting excellent pay and other incentives and benefits whereas for others, it’s about having a good time at work and having the opportunity to socialize in an office environment. Others may see happiness in the workplace as something directly tied to the company culture such as having a welcoming work setting, a fulfilling responsibility, a collaborative work environment and having the opportunity to give back. Happiness in the workplace is about people enjoying their everyday tasks, openly collaborating with their team members, feeling acknowledged and respected at work, having a healthy work-life balance and come home fulfilled at the end of the day.

Who benefits from workplace happiness?

Performance and happiness go hand in hand in making an organization successful. In fact it is not just employees that benefit from being happy at work, it is also companies themselves. There is a lot of research that proves that productivity is directly impacted by how happy people are performing tasks.

While being happy at work is something extremely personal, the reality is that younger generations are placing workplace happiness high on their list when it comes to choosing between jobs, moving to a different company or choosing a different career path. No matter what, the expectations are, companies can highly benefit from having a culture that welcomes happiness, inclusivity and openness.

Happiness builds positivity

Keeping happiness in mind might help to build stronger workplaces. A troubled mind can be the storehouse of negative contemplations. Employees who feel great pleasure in doing their work form a great example to others who are less motivated. For example, when a team leader or a supervisor is happy with her position and her work, he can influence his team with more positivity and maintain great functionality in the group. Happiness in the workplace is directly correlational to increased productivity and better group performance at work. When we are not happy, we become stressed anymore, lose focus and indulge self-deprecating thoughts like “I have to quit”, “I cannot take it” and obviously you will not contribute more to the organisation.

How leaders can create a happy workplace

There is plenty of evidence that happy employees are more engaged, productive and effective and they contribute more to success and the bottom line. As a leader, you have an opportunity to create the conditions for happiness and you can do that by:

Creating a healthy workplace environment

Employees spend a third of their day (and for a lot of us, a third of our lives) working inside an office. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to provide a safe and healthy environment to work in. A healthy workplace environment is ideal when it comes to maintaining a positive outcome in a stressful atmosphere. The most important thing that influences employee motivation and happiness, and how productive and efficient they can be, all goes down to their working environment. A healthy workplace environment is good for your company as it could lead to bringing sales for business. A healthy workplace environment improves productivity and reduces costs related to absenteeism and employee turnover.

Focus on positives always

Happiness at work means choosing to avoid negative contemplations, gossip (unless they are positive), and unnecessary judgments. Positivity breeds positivity and you can increase your happiness by focusing on positive things and reducing your negative thinking. Employees must not allow negativity to fester in the workplace or it spreads like germs. Especially during anxious times, it’s paramount for leadership to focus on the good not on the bad as it can compromise happiness. Moreso, it’s very important to give praise for hard works, such verbal recognition can go beyond in creating a positive culture that enable employees to be happy.

Invest in interactive team-building trainings

Nowadays, more and more companies understand the value of making time to have fun in the office and continuously hold interesting events. Hosting team-building events where employees can play together, giggle together, and resolve issues together is a great way to promote contentment and fulfillment. This brings employees together and allows for them to get to know each other in aspects other than as colleagues building trust and connection.

Team-building activities empower teams to collaborate, boost morale, improve communication, thus benefiting the whole organisation. Strong bonds among colleagues are important scaffolding for happiness at work.

Pay fairly and avoid wage theft

When companies do not pay employees all the money they are owed, intentionally, that is considered wage theft. Wage theft refers to any activities, actions or practices that prevent workers from receiving their lawfully earned or contractually-promised compensation. In other words, wage theft can simply mean the non-payment or underpayment of earned wages to employees by employers. This failure to pay what workers are legally entitled to can demotivate employees and at the end compromise happiness at work. Employers should also know that all employees want to be paid fairly for the time they put in. Appropriate compensation is one way to keep workers happy, especially if they have taken on additional duties or projects. It’s true some may argue that money isn’t everything, but today you should know that it can keep employees grinding and loyal when business gets tough.

Happiness is something we create; it is not something to achieve. Happiness in the workplace might just be the secret ingredient missing in some organisations. Leaders who want to increase their company’s productivity, psychological safety, employee turnover rates, and their workforce’s creative capacity, should make workplace happiness a priority. Workplaces that strive to balance the everyday stresses of a job to encourage workplace happiness can enjoy strong competitive advantages.

  • Emmanuel Zvada is a human capital consultant/international recruitment expert and author. He writes here in his personal capacity of him.

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