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The Cornerstones of Workplace Joy: Understanding the Four Pillars of Happiness

Picture source: BBC

How can you make sure your workplace is a happy place? The concept of happiness is not one size fits all but rather subjective. Happiness in the workplace comes with the power to make a choice. When you think of happiness and work, the most common answer is to have autonomy and feel a sense of enjoyment with the time spent there. The most important conclusion is that happiness is something else for everyone. It’s not a one size fits all. But we do know that all these models also have a lot in common. From all of that, we extracted the four pillars of Happiness at Work: Purpose, People, Progress and Positivity. We explain them one by one below.

1. Purpose

It is important that the purpose of the organization is aligned with the purpose of the individual employee and should therefore be clearly communicated. A powerful purpose contributes to job happiness in the following ways, among others:

  • it gives direction and streamlines decisions;

  • it motivates and connects internally;

  • it builds a story and creates fans;

  • and it attracts talent.

2. People

This pillar is about the connection with colleagues and the way you work together. Can you be yourself and show your vulnerability? Do you belong and is there trust in each other? How do you stimulate connection?

  • By creating a safe culture, where vulnerability, openness, and honesty are shown;

  • By setting a good example;

  • By paying attention and taking time for each other.

  • By expressing genuine appreciation.

Give your colleague a heartfelt compliment today, we often forget to appreciate each other for the work someone does due to the busyness of the day!

3. Progress

Progress is about achieving results in meaningful work and about being able to grow and develop. You experience satisfaction when successes are celebrated and when you have autonomy and responsibility. It is finding the ultimate balance between challenge and your (growing) capabilities that puts you in the so-called ‘flow’. How do you get the feeling of progress?

  • Make results visible

  • Celebrate the big and small successes (focus on what succeeds)

  • Formulate clear and meaningful goals

  • Give autonomy and responsibility

4. Positivity

The fourth Pillar of happiness is Positivity. Laughter and fun create a better atmosphere, inspire more creativity and more happiness at work. Positivity in the workplace is an important reason to come to work and it even stimulates the learning curve!

What can you do?

  • Create habits, rituals, and an environment where fun is ok;

  • organize fun events such as a beer and pizza session or a football tournament;

  • provide an inspiring work environment

  • be a good example: Have fun yourself!

  • do unexpected fun things

  • Make sure it doesn’t become superficial!

It’s not the cool office with free fruit and good coffee that makes you happy, it’s creating a culture where fun and happiness are key. The office and the coffee are at best the manifestations of the underlying factors and at best create job satisfaction. Embrace the four P’s!

Source: International Week of Happiness at Work

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