“Mental health problems cost the UK economy at least £117.9 billion annually”
Source: Mental Health Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science, (March 2022)
There is no doubt that mental health is an important topic appearing across all areas of life, largely influenced by the recent pandemic, rising cost of living and the war in Ukraine. We see in the workplace in particular, many people also feeling more under pressure and experiencing some form of stress than ever. Whilst stress and burnout is very much on one side of the coin, focusing on happiness at work and in the workplace can have a profound impact in creating a high performing team.
Happiness at work can be a very subjective topic, what motivates one person to do a good job, feel satisfied or be happy, will be different to the next. For some the motivating factor will be money, others achieving a promotion or feeling valued as part of a team may be more of a driver. In our blog this month, we will explore the impact that happiness at work can have on our teams motivation and think about how we might achieve this.
So let’s start by thinking what we mean by “happiness at work”? There are quite a few things that contribute to this but in essence it is where we enjoy what we do, feel valued, appreciated by an organisation and happy with the level of financial reward we are given. If we feel all of these things, we tend to perform better. The book “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Anchor states that with a happy workforce, productivity could increase by 37%. That is a pretty significant uplift.
Happiness and positivity spreads amongst teams, but equally the reverse can happen if an individual is unhappy, under pressure or struggling. Leaders within a workplace need to consider how to create a positive environment for their teams, thinking about:
1. Autonomy. By trusting our teams and enabling them to discover the best way to respond to the business challenge helps them to feel valued. A manager who micro manages will often have quite a negative impact.
2. Talk to our teams. By sharing what is going on in the business with our teams and enabling them to contribute as relevant, will ensure that they not only buy into the business challenges, but also respond positively to the challenges presented. We need to take our teams on the journey with us.
3. Challenge. By challenging and stretching our teams, it will help to keep them engaged and encourage them to do more and be better.
4. Learning. We know from our previous discussions around our wellbeing strategy that to continue to learn and stretch ourself is important to maintain a positive mental wellbeing. Thinking about how you can help one of your team to build on their knowledge will be key, if you work in marketing for example, you might wish to learn more about digital trends or build on your leadership skills.
5. Support. To provide a full range of support to our teams is really important, especially given the current climate. What wellbeing provision is in place for your organisation?
6. Provide feedback. Helping an individual to grow and flourish will be important for many, by offering guidance as to how they can do this, will be valuable in achieving this.
Whilst we have considered above some of the ways we can create an environment to encourage happiness at work, this will vary by organisation. Of course how you implement it for your particular business will vary hugely influenced by sector, budget and culture. The other place that provides a really good summary of how you can create more happiness is from “Action for Happiness”. They share 10 keys which help us to achieve a balanced life, not just in the workplace but thinking at home as well.
The 10 keys include:
Giving. support a charity either financially or with time, can have a real feel good factor to it. Sometimes a kind act or smile for a colleague can also make a big difference.
Relating. Expanding on our blog from last month on loneliness , sometimes by connecting with others either at home or work, can have a big impact on lifting our spirits.
Exercise. We know that physical exercise is good for our bodies, it is also a key pillar in helping our mental wellbeing.
Awareness. By practicing mindfulness or meditation regularly, can often help us to switch off or disconnect from the digital world around us.
Trying Out. Continually learning new things can stretch us mentally but also expose us to new experiences – perhaps make an effort to discover a new hobby this year.
Direction. By defining a goal or purpose can really help us to have something to look forward to or aim for.
Resilience. Finding ways of bouncing back when things get tough, will serve us well both in the workplace and at home.
Emotions. By focusing on what is good around us is important, it is so easy to focus on the negative but flipping that on its head can see huge benefits.
Acceptance. In who you are.
Meaning. By being part of something bigger such as raising money for a good cause or helping someone can feel really rewarding.
We are just putting the final touches to a number of new workshops, to enable us to fully support the mental wellbeing challenges faced by our clients in today’s business workplace. If you would like some help in reviewing and implementing a happier workplace or interested to discover more, please get in touch to discuss your individual requirements.