Workplace happiness

Do you feel unhappy at work?

Do you think about Monday on a Sunday (Called Smonday)?

Do you find reasons to take a leave off work?

Do you think of leaving your current job and following your passion?

If the answer these questions is a “NO”, then that’s great. You are doing an awesome job in life.

However, statistics and surveys done worldwide show some interesting perspectives about being happy at work. Let’s explore.

In one of the teams I worked with in the past, we used to share “How happy are you today?” at the end of stand-up everyday. It was a simple practice to share how you are feeling or what your mood was on that particular day. It sort of provided a heads-up to other team members about what to expect and adjust their empathy levels accordingly. I realized that “Happiness” is quite a serious topic, when I explored it more.

Happy employees are more engaged at work. Objectively speaking, studies (for ex, this one), show that

  1. Only 13% employees worldwide are happy.
  2. 63% are not engaged. You can say they are working just for the sort of making a living. They have no attachment with their surrounding.
  3. And 24% are actively disengaged. 24% ?? Almost a quarter of world’s working population is unhappy, grumpy and toxic at workplace. That’s a very high number.

The financial losses due to unhappy and disengaged employees run into trillions of dollars worldwide. Such employees are active in further spoiling the culture.

Happiness and culture are very closely related. Happy employees are more productive, promote the culture and encourage more people to join the company. They are simply great at everything they do.¬†That’s the reason many companies these days are investing in this area and have have dedicated and trained people to improve employee happiness and productivity within the company. Pluralsight, example, has a Chief Happiness officer which is amazing.

There are a number of recommendations and studies on how this problem can be approached. Management 3.0 speaks about this and so does this report.

Keeping employees happy is a challenge. Having worked with many teams in the past, I have been both happy and unhappy at work. Below are the top 3 things that affect people happiness, which I have experienced.

  1. Respect:- This one tops my list, at least. Teams these days are built with people from diverse culture and backgrounds. Some may be introverts, some may be extroverts. The most common reason why people are unhappy at work is because they do not feel respected. There are a number of acts that can make people feel bad. Mocking someone, rejecting ideas in a rude way, raising voice and doing arguments are some of the behavioral traits. Give timely and immediate feedback to any individual who shows exhibits certain behavior. Do not let it grow.
  2. Bad bosses:- Peter’s principle is largely prevalent in our industry which is wrong and should be avoided. Do not promote technical people into managerial positions, just because they do not have room to rise any further in the organization. Managing people is a niche skill and needs specialized training and education. It’s a well known fact, that most people do not leave companies, they leave their bosses.
  3. Right people for right job:- People feel happy when they accomplish something. They feel proud when they are recognized for their accomplishment. This motivates them further. Recognize the potential and setup people to succeed, rather than to fail. If the employee does not have competence to undertake a difficult task, be explicit and let him/her know about it. Set goals and expectations as per potential and competence. Competence is a temporary thing and it can scale to great levels if the person is motivated to work hard and put in efforts.

There is usually a built-up process involved, over a period of time. Nobody decides to leave a company just in a day. Which means there is always time and opportunities available to make corrections. Look around, talk to people, gather feedback and safeguard the culture, because at the end of the day, happy employees can create great companies.

Dattatraya Kale

Aspiring agile software craftsman, clean code, polyglot, in love with different programming paradigm. I am on a never-ending journey towards mastery of software.

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