Workplace happiness is something that lives at the forefront of every employee’s mind and should be on every employer’s radar.
As an employee, your boss depends on you to keep the business afloat, so your loyalty and productivity are essential for the company’s success. Numerous studies have shown that people who are happy at work are also more productive. When you are unhappy, your performance starts to decline, which eventually leads to decreased quality of work.
As a business owner, it’s fair to say that your employees’ happiness is a valuable investment. But as someone who has experienced my fair share of bad bosses and toxic workplaces, it’s clear that workers’ happiness doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
So, how can managers and business owners tackle workplace happiness levels efficiently? Fortunately, there are many ways you can begin to boost happiness levels in the workplace.
Four Ways Employers Can Improve Workplace Happiness
1. Make work-life balance a top priority
Overworked employees are not happy employees. If you sense that your employees are too stressed to take lunch breaks, consider their work-life balance.
David Ballard, head of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, says, “Americans spend a majority of their waking hours at work and, as such, they want to have harmony between their job demands and the other parts of their lives.”
While it is admittedly quite difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution for striking the perfect work-life balance, it’s better to begin somewhere than forgo trying at all.
Consider doing a company-wide survey to gauge the happiness levels within your company. Ask for suggestions, too! Your employees are intelligent, hard workers–that’s why you hired them. Odds are they have a few ideas on how to improve the work-life balance.
As an employee, you can also play a role in promoting work-life balance within your organization by sharing your insights and suggestions with your superiors or HR department. Although you can’t make them act on it, you can make them aware.
2. Offer more vacation time and sick days
Do you ever think about what your employees do in their spare time or on the weekends? If not, you should. It’s good to keep in mind that their downtime is precious, and they cherish every moment away from the office.
Every job requires time and brainpower— two things that can leave one feeling tired after 8 hours on the clock. To avoid the adverse effects of burnout and disillusionment, consider rewarding your employees with vacation days or other paid time off.
Many employers work on an incremental system or award a specific amount of days from the start date. Offering at least 14 days of paid time off gives your employees the peace of mind and vacation time they need to spend away from the office and with their family and friends.
But if you can swing more, you will be rewarded with happier employees who produce better results. Even little things like closing early on a Friday can make a difference without impacting your bottom line.
And as for you employees reading this, make sure you take all your paid time off and don’t let it go to waste.
3. Create structured development paths
Training and career mentoring are two wonderful development opportunities for your employees to get excited about and improve workplace happiness. Not only does implementing a pathway to higher success and valuable growth reduce feelings of stagnancy, but it also encourages your hardest workers to aim higher.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring new talent instead of training your current team members. Team-wide morale could plummet, and your loyal workers could feel disgruntled. Should you decide to hire, make sure your internal candidates also get a fair shot at these roles.
For employees, take advantage of any additional training that your employer offers. You should continuously be building your skills so that you can move on to better roles.
4. Promote a positive work environment
A happy company has happy employees. A positive work environment is most conducive to churning out happier workers. It should be at the top of your priority list to figure out ways to make your workplace enjoyable to be in.
A positive work environment begins with the following two things:
- Developing meaningful relationships – Creating healthy work relationships is the first step toward creating camaraderie. It helps to get to know your colleagues as more than just people you work with. Happy hours, in-house networking events, and company outings are exciting ways to encourage branching out.
- Recognizing hard work – All employees work hard at their jobs. It may feel impossible to acknowledge the littlest things individually but don’t let that stop you from trying. Encourage managers to point out when their direct reports accomplish something outstanding. A simple but authentic “great job” may be all it takes. And if your manager isn’t giving others the props they deserve, don’t be afraid to initiate the recognition yourself.
No matter your role in the organization, building professional relationships and avoiding toxicity (like office drama and gossip) will make your 9-5 life a whole lot easier.
Whatever you decide to do to change the pace of your workplace, begin with employee satisfaction in mind. After all, your team is the lifeblood of your business. It’s only right to treat them with the utmost respect and gratitude.
Making Happy Workplaces
Creating an environment that fosters workplace happiness doesn’t have to be complicated. When you think about it, what’s the one thing people hate about their jobs the most? They feel stressed. Deadlines, projects, meaningless meetings, and a demanding boss do not encourage workplace happiness.
Look for ways to get the job done without adding to the stress.
Encourage feedback and be open to what employees have to say. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of the team.
Recognize and reward employees for their efforts and results. Understand your employees have a life outside of the workplace. Be sure to give them plenty of time off to enjoy that life.
If you do, workplace happiness will increase. Your employees will be more productive, have less stress, and will want to stay in their jobs. That’s the kind of win-win we all strive to achieve.
- Toxic Work Environments Suck! Here’s How to Spot and Escape One
- Gen Z is the Most Unhappy at Work, Study Finds
Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.