Actively helping your colleagues feel good not only creates a better company culture, it can help everyone feel valued, which means they’re more likely to stick around, too. While hiring Chief Happiness Officers (yes, they exist at Google) may not fit into every company’s budget, here are seven ways to drive positivity no matter your job title.
A study by Globoforce2 (a workforce research institute) found that 83% of employees who were recognised for their performance reported a positive work experience overall. Make an effort to promote other people’s strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses. Whether it’s an email shout-out or heroing them in a meeting, public praise can increase your colleague’s sense of value, and as a result, their happiness at work.
Use positive language to inspire
The words you use in the office could have a big impact on how you motivate and inspire others. Language expert and author Darlene Price3 suggests using the word ‘you’ more than ‘I’ as this will help you directly include and address your listeners. She also suggests making an effort to directly address your colleagues. You’ll not only help to increase their sense of self-worth, they are also more likely to view you as a thoughtful and caring person.
Volunteer as a work mentor
People who have a supervisor or colleague who genuinely cares about them are more productive and significantly more likely to remain at a company4. Ask your manager or HR team about setting up a mentor scheme in the office. Mentors will get satisfaction from passing on their skills and experience, while mentees will feel more positive having someone who genuinely cares about their wellbeing and progress.
Whether it’s a book or film club, office sports team or even a packed lunch club, creating more of a community culture at work can make all the difference. In fact, employees rate the culture and values of a company as the most important factors in workplace happiness – above pay and benefits!
Give new starters a warm welcome
Remember your first day at work? Chances are, the first interactions with your new colleagues had a huge effect on your initial happiness. According to Fast Company5, making new employees feel welcome significantly increases their chances of staying, too. So, whether it’s a welcome lunch or friendly introductions to the extended team, helping them become part of the company culture is a win-win for everyone.
Ease into the day
How you feel in the morning can have a big impact on the rest of your day, according to researchers at Ohio State University6. When analysing the moods and performance of customer service reps, they found those who were in a happy, calm mood in the morning tended to stay that way for the rest of the day. Make a morning tea round together or chat about something other than work for the first five minutes of the day and this will help everyone start on a positive note.
Create a work playlist
In a recent employee survey7 of 1,000 workers, one in three said that music would help reduce stress. Music has a huge impact on our mood but rather than plugging in, pop on the radio or create a playlist of tunes that you and your colleagues can contribute to – that way everyone is happy with the music choice. Working in an open-plan office? Be mindful of the volume and colleagues on the phone.
How are you helping your office feel more positive?
3Darlene Price, quoted in ‘Words and Phrases That Inspire, Motivate and Persuade at Work,’ Forbes, 2013,https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/03/26/words-and-phrases-that-inspire-motivate-and-persuade-at-work/#3c90430b9569
4'3 uncommon ways to drive happiness in the workplace,' Fast Company, 2014, https://www.fastcompany.com/3038429/3-uncommon-ways-to-drive-happiness-in-the-workplace
5'5 ways to make new employees feel welcome,' Fast Company, 2014, https://www.fastcompany.com/3039232/5-ways-to-welcome-your-new-employee-to-the-workplace
6'Waking up on the right or wrong side of the bed: start-of-workday mood, work events, employee affect and performance,' by University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University, Academy of Management Journal, 2014, http://amj.aom.org/content/54/5/959.abstract
7'Flexible working could reduce stress, employees say,' by Marino Donati, FM World, November 2016