Make Your Workplace Happier

Studies Generally Show Happy Workplaces Have Higher Productivity And Employee Engagement.

By Steve Schumacher

If there ever is a place that can influence happiness in large numbers of people, it is the workplace. Most of us have a connection with our jobs that can influence our moods both on and off the job. Even more specifically, the boss has a major influence on happiness in the workplace.

As a leader, here are some things you can do to make the workplace happier.

Be kind. Our parents taught us the Golden Rule, not to speak ill of others, and basically to be kind. Some people say the job is all about numbers, productivity, sales and pressure. Sure, those are factors in most organizations, but kindness should be a factor also. Research shows that when the boss is kind, loyalty develops, and loyalty leads to higher performance. Random acts of kindness go a long way when they come from the boss. Remember, everyone watches you very closely. When you are kind to others, chances are others will follow your lead. Examples of kindness – say please and thank you, bring in books that you like to read, start conversations with the janitor, delivery person, other non-mainstream employees. Part of being kind is having brainstorms with employees on how to be kind.

Be thankful. Thanking employees costs you nothing, is easy to do, and has a huge impact on employees. Giving thanks regularly, specifically, and consistently will raise the performance of everyone. If you cannot be sincere when giving thanks it is better not to do it. Your employees will recognize your lack of sincerity right away. Examples: Say thanks in group meetings, send a thank you email to your entire team, give your team an entire afternoon off unannounced. A couple things when being thankful – do it in a timely manner and be SPECIFIC, otherwise employees will think you are running for office.

Be positive. Anywhere you look in an organization you can find things that are going wrong and are easy to feel bad about and voice those bad feelings to others. The challenge is to be upbeat and positive as often as possible and voice those positive feelings to others. Hold off on judgment of people and situations. Think about the best-case scenario more often. Reality tells us that we do not have control over a lot of things that happen to us in life, both at home and at work. What we can control, however, is our reaction to those events. Work at responding in a positive manner as much as possible. This does not mean ignore negative or problem situations.

It simply means increase your amount of positivity in the workplace. Examples: Use positive words, surround yourself with positive people, make every situation a lesson learned.

Be well. Bosses that take care of themselves increase the odds that other employees will follow their lead, which will enhance the workplace, lower health care costs, and improve attendance. When you figure out how to prioritize good diet, exercise, sleep, etc., it becomes easier for you to help others prioritize their health.

During the pandemic, our personal health was a major concern for all of us and our families. Now that we are making our ways back to the company location, overall healthy habits come back into play. With restrictions being lifted, we are free to make healthier lifestyle decisions. All of this starts with being self-aware. Knowing what your preferences are and what your limits are. Be realistic with yourself. Trying to overachieve in this are causes yo-yo dieting and unintended physical and mental stress. Examples: Instead of candy bowls substitute fruit bowls to share, go for a walk during lunch – it is great physically and mentally, keep your computer screen at arm’s length to reduce eye strain.

Be the change you are seeking. As a leader, you are responsible for rolling out various initiatives and making them compelling for employees to implement them. Yes, you have the position power to force people to get on board, but the initiative will get traction and last longer if employees see you actively modeling the change you are seeking.

Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at [email protected]

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