Recent surveys from reputable sources, including The Conference Board, Mercer and CNNMoney, reveal that American workers are the unhappiest they have been in more than two decades. Statistics that highlight workforce unhappiness include: 84 percent of employed Americans are unhappy at their current jobs (CNNMoney), only 45 percent of workers are satisfied with their current jobs (the Conference Board) and one in three American workers is serious about leaving their current job (Mercer).
These gloomy statistics leave company leaders searching for strategies to keep their employees content and productive. It is a fact that retention rates increase when employees are satisfied with their jobs, and their job satisfaction is influenced by many factors, such as the work they do, the support they receive and the people they work with. Another key indicator for job satisfaction is the level of happiness employees have when they are working. Research shows that creating a positive work environment increases productivity and overall health in employees.
There are multiple reasons why happiness is an instant productivity booster for workers. Here are a few:
- Employees who are happy relate better with others, including their coworkers and clients. This helps improve teamwork and customer service.
- People who are happy tend to be more creative and are open to different ideas. Increased creativity also helps employees problem solve more effectively.
- People who are happy at their jobs enjoy what they do, so they have more motivation to perform well.
- Those who are happy tend to get sick less frequently. Being sick instantly decreases productivity, and employees who dislike their jobs are prone to stress, making them more susceptible to catching a cold or getting ulcers.
- People who are happy are also more likely to be optimistic. Optimists are more successful and productive and complain far less than those who are unhappy.
Although not every employee will become happy, companies can encourage employees to participate in activities and make choices that will promote happiness. Organizations have several options of exercises and tasks to give employees the opportunity to increase their happiness, and ultimately increase overall company productivity. Happiness coaching is spreading through business culture—large companies are hiring happiness coaches to train their staffs, and graduate schools are now offering classes that promote workplace happiness.
Try implementing some of the simple, yet highly effective strategies below to boost the happiness of your employees:
- Have staff members evaluate their strengths and utilize them to work more effectively. They will become more engaged and happier over time.
- Encourage employees to write positive emails to colleagues that praise them on work they have recently completed. This will help promote good employee relations.
- Allow workers to take multiple breaks during the workday. Studies prove that short time away from work reenergizes individuals and helps them increase their productivity.
- When appropriate, suggest that employees use their vacation and sick time. Ample vacation or recovery time will help them return revitalized and productive.
- Help staff members take advantage of training and educational opportunities when available. Learning new information or skills will help them achieve greater success and will increase their happiness.
There are also a number of steps employees can take on their own to help increase their individual happiness and health. Below are several tips to help your staff members improve their outlook on work:
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes three times per week .
- Take time to meditate for a few minutes each day.
- Make your self-talk positive to work through stressful situations or errors. For example, instead of saying to yourself, “You idiot.” Try, “How can I work to make this better?”
- Focus on issues or situations that you can control, instead of worrying about factors that you cannot.
- Plan a routine for your daily activities to establish a productive week. This can include choosing specific times to wake up or listing projects you want to start.
For more information on how to promote happiness in your workplace, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.