Article: Creating Twenty First Century 'Happy Workplaces'

Author: Sunu Mathews, Managing Director, LEAP India

Making your organization a happy place to go to work is an essential component to the successful long-lasting business. A happy work environment attracts good people and helps to do the best for the company. To create that kind of environment, it takes a strong top down and bottom up approach.

It takes creativity, presence of mind, proper hiring practices and clear expectations.

Once it gets underway, the feeling is infectious, and your best bet is to think of your happy workplace as a sound investment.

Happy is not just a pipe dream. There is theory and study behind it. A whole field of Psychology is devoted to it. You won’t be surprised to know that buying something new might make you happy for a few minutes but like a sugar rush, wears off really quickly. This is the workplace equivalent of landing a great contract or getting a great price reduction. It is exciting but very short lived.

The next level of happiness, which tends to last a lot longer, is the feeling that you have a pleasant life. That kind of feeling comes from liking what you are doing and feeling good about your job. The most sustainable level of happiness is being able to feel like you are giving back to this world.

There are many things you can do to make a sustainably happy organization. Here are some ways to get started:
Give employees the flexibility to create work-life balance.

In our always-connected world, the line between work and home is disappearing. Many workplace experts see this as a bad thing, but it can also be a good thing, if you use it to give people the freedom to take care of their personal lives. "Employees tend to be happier and more productive when they know they can take time during regular working hours to handle family issues such as a sick child or ailing parent, and that they can work from home when feasible.

Fix bad processes:

Employees find broken or inadequate processes extremely frustrating. "Between time-wasting meetings, poor communication practices, and excessive emails, it can be hard for them to devote their full attention to their jobs.” Collaboration technology that can replace productivity-killing meetings, and internal communications systems that bypass email can help. Try to eliminate anything that makes the people who work for you feel like they're wasting their time.

Make sure you hear--and act on--employee concerns:
One in four employees reports that conflicts arise due to communications breakdowns. So, make sure there are clear systems in place that allow employees to freely communicate with each other and with you, and that you really listen to what they have to say. But communication is only half the battle. If employees are telling you their problems loud and clear, but you aren't acting to address those problems, you'll have a bigger morale problem than if you had never asked for their input. So, once you know what's frustrating your employees, do everything you can to fix it.

Give Back with Your Employees:

Do something to give back to your community or to the world. Having a companywide initiative that makes a difference will make people feel connected to the greater good. Take a poll. Find out what people care about and get their opinions on how best to accomplish those goals.

Thoughtful Actions = Happy Work Environment

One can have a happy workplace if time taken out to make it a happy workplace. Hire happy people. Don’t get caught up in focusing on the negative and make sure to do the little things that make a difference in people’s lives. It won’t be a major cultural change at first, but slowly and surely workplace will become a better place and people will do better work.

 Author: Sunu Mathews, Managing Director, LEAP India

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