I read an interesting article in the Huffington Post by Gregory Ciotti regarding happiness at work. While Ciotti suggests activities to encourage in the work place, I thought about his ideas as a leader. As leaders, the question is: How we can create an environment of “happiness” at work for our teams? Some may say happiness is not up to us to create, however I would argue that employees being happy at work will likely make them more productive and creative. Ciotti lists four predictors of happiness in the work place: 1) Making sure people get light, 2) Checking on burnout levels for your employees, 3) Generosity, and 4) Scheduling time for creativity. Let’s consider actions we can take as leaders:
- Light. Encourage folks to get outside during breaks to get natural light. Try to arrange your office space so that employees are exposed to more natural light. Perhaps buy sunlight lamps that can be shared among people.
- Burnout. Ciotti mentions an online burnout assessment. I know this may be difficult, but we need to give our teams breaks from their phones. Encourage your team to set boundaries and communicate them (i.e., “I won’t be looking or answering emails after 7 pm,” or, “I won’t look at emails from Friday night at 7 pm until Sunday night at 7 pm.”) What’s important is to communicate these established boundaries. You may also need to establish these limits with your clients.
- Generosity. Try to foster an environment that rewards teamwork. Recognize folks who step in and help others to get projects done. Make sure you regularly recognize team members for their efforts. In our weekly staff meetings at KHC, we call these “kudos,” activities where anyone on the team can thank and recognize another team member. Prior to our annual team strategic meeting in December, we asked each employee to write one trait they appreciate about their fellow team members. With 15 people, each of us received 14 personal “affirmations.” I kept those notes and occasionally look at them during tough times at work. These are very easy things to implement within your team and you may be surprised by how it can create a more positive environment.
- Creativity. Designate time for creativity. Send out questions prior to meeting so that people can independently come up with ideas. Then, when the team gets together, they can build on one another’s ideas. This is another step that sounds easy to do, but it can be difficult to find the time. Start perhaps with a one-hour meeting each month to address a very specific challenge. Or, use part of your regularly scheduled staff meetings for creative brainstorming, but make sure your team knows the topic beforehand so they can come prepared.
Great ideas for us to latch onto personally, and also to use as leaders to create a “happy” place at work! For more information, visit our website at makinglifecount.com or contact Joni Lindquist –firstname.lastname@example.org, (913) 345-1881.