As the poet Khalil Gibran said, ‘Work is love made visible’; or as Sir John Harvey-Jones put it, ‘The work we do for money must be complemented by the work we do for love.’ And for our work to make us happy, there are a number of different factors that need to be in tune with and reinforce one another:
- Where vision and strategy go hand in hand
- Cultivating a deeper sense of inner success
- Having a strong sense of purpose
- Building relationships – ‘walking the four corners’
- Having fun at work
A happy worker is a productive worker. Enabling employees to enjoy their jobs and find meaning at work is a more effective method of improving performance than the use of incentives such as wage enhancement. Happy workers are more open-minded, tolerant, and trustworthy, and more likely to contribute to team spirit and social harmony.
If you love what you do, then it won’t matter so much if you work harder and longer hours. The long hours culture is here to stay [particularly with so much working from home] and the only way employers will get more from their employees is by ensuring that they are a part of the growth process of the company, that their contributions are appreciated, and that they are needed and valued for what they do.
A life consumed with work, on the other hand, will make GDP increase, but at the same time will lead to far less happiness. Constant work will lead to the demise of family life, and in time, the demand for greater efficiency and higher productivity will serve to dehumanise society.
Learning to be happy and choosing one’s attitude in order to increase chances of success
What is the link between happiness and success? To be successful you really have to enjoy what you do, and the happier it makes you, the more you want to do it and the more successful you become.
Happiness at work is fundamental to success. If you’re happy you’ll try harder, work longer and be less ill. That’s good for you and for your business. Happiness at work is a basic ingredient of success, for both individuals and businesses: it is a fundamental business driver. Successful businesses understand the essential links between job happiness, being effective and profit. Happy employees are engaged, committed and productive; they are creative and focused on achieving the best outcomes. They don’t waste their efforts complaining – and their attitude inspires and encourages others.
Being paid a fair rate for the job we do is important to all of us, but when it comes to achieving genuine happiness at work, money is surprisingly low on the priority list. ‘Creative’ fulfilment, good relationships with colleagues and the knowledge that we are doing a ‘meaningful’ job invariably outrank mere salary packages on the job satisfaction wish-list
Entrepreneurship – where a motivational and engaging culture unleashes potential
Inspiring people is not easy – for most of us it takes time, effort and persistence. Few of us have the outstanding qualities of inspirational figures such as Martin Luther King Junior or Nelson Mandela. Nevertheless, we all have the ability to inspire employees in small yet meaningful ways. And when people are inspired, they become more enthusiastic, motivated and engaged, which invariably improves their performance. Inspiration is not a management tool that can be readily manipulated. It results from the creation of a positive psychological and emotional connection with an individual – it is about winning hearts as well as minds.
Management has to buy into ‘inspiration’ as there might not be instant results. And it is far better to coach someone to do a task than to tell them – this will have longer-lasting results and stand the test of time.
Developing the leaders of the future
Organisations need to encourage employees to reach beyond their fears, by understanding and relishing their role, and the positive contributions they can – and will – make.
Understanding the importance of work-life balance and how to achieve it is a key management skill. Work-life balance needs to be implemented as part of an organisation’s legal framework and company policy – as does building resilience.
New ways of working
Flexibility is the key to success. Organisations often lose valuable talent because of an unwillingness to be flexible, or to alter work patterns in order to cater for particular needs such as those of the disabled. Home working and buddying schemes – where new recruits are provided with an informal mentor – are just two examples of the new approaches that need to be taken.
Corporate image and corporate social responsibility
A business’s corporate image, internally and externally, is a key element in sustainable success, and means far more than simply having an attractive logo.
Demonstrating a commitment to society isn’t just about social conscience or doing what’s right, it makes good business sense – helping to attract and retain the best employees, influencing customers and buyers, and powering long-term success.
Happiness at work has many facets. We have to use the wisdom we have learnt from the past and take it into the future. Legislation will not be enough to get to this healthy culture – the only way to get to it is via people, because motivated = inspired = involved teams that grow successful businesses.