Happiness is an important part of any workplace. Generally speaking, employees that are happy will be more productive, produce higher quality work, and become more engaged in their jobs and with the company. While certain aspects of workplace happiness depend on good chemistry between the members of your team, there are several things you can do to improve workplace morale by improving working conditions, reducing stress, and interjecting fun into the workplace. Here are five ways to increase the level of happiness in the workplace.
1. Provide a Comfortable Work Environment
While a workplace should be professional, that doesn't mean that it must be uncomfortable. When you are not comfortable, it is hard to remain cheerful. Poor lighting can cause eyestrain and headaches. Uncomfortable desk chairs can lead to sore necks, backs, and shoulders. Take time to honestly evaluate your work environment and replace any features that are less than ideal. If you have the space to spare, you may wish to set up a relaxing area with a sofa and a few plush chairs for people to take a minute to think or bond with coworkers over their morning coffee.
2. Give Positive Feedback
It is easy to think of feedback as negative, because that is when we hear it the most. It is important to give feedback of all kinds for learning and confident performance in any role. If you see someone do an outstanding job, make sure they know about it, or make sure their boss does. People love to hear compliments. Even the most self-confident people need an ego boost from time to time. Make sure to simply be genuine in your feedback. When you point out something that you genuinely appreciate about someone, you'll almost always get to see them beaming with happiness.
3. Really Listen When People Speak
When someone else is speaking, it is incredibly easy to become distracted by thinking about what you are going to say next, or something else altogether. But when you do this, you never know what good ideas or important information you may be missing out on. People respect someone who truly listens. Whenever someone takes the time to speak to you, tune out all other distractions and focus on what they are saying. This will make your employees feel like you truly value their contributions, respect their thoughts and ideas, and can help your business as a whole
4. Lead, Don’t Micromanage
Part of being a good, effective leader is telling other people what they need to do. However, a common mistake is to move from management into micromanagement. Micromanagement lowers employee’s happiness, and lessens their ability to learn, which can have long term effects on their job performance. There are a lot of ways to stop micromanaging, identify what is best for you and implement them quickly. By shifting your focus from management to leadership it allows you to guide your employees and gives them ownership of their role.
5. Take Time For Fun
If you never give employees the time and activities to bond and get to know each other they will not work as effectively as a team. Focus on team building and culture growing events every month as they not only bring teamwork, but give employees a chance to have some fun and be happy together. These do not have to be big extravagant events, but maybe a company sponsored lunch, or planning an hour of games to close out the workweek. These little things begin to add up and change a company’s culture for the better and increase employee engagement.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published October 29th 2014, and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.