Work is an integral part of our lives, a necessity; it is a great asset if it is also a pleasure. There are many indications that this view is increasingly important when choosing an employer. The Covid-19 pandemic has re-evaluated the thinking of many people. A sense of security (in terms of life and health), satisfaction with relationships and wellbeing are becoming increasingly important, not only in private life, but also in the workplace.
Employees choose a wellbeing philosophy
According to forecasts, in 10 years’ time the majority of employees, in choosing a job, will look for a company that provides adequate psychological and physical wellbeing. Since we are living in a culture of success, achieving professional fulfilment, especially for the youngest generations, is one of the essential elements of a satisfying life. Some activities and benefits have already entered the so-called “must have” canon. There are more and more discussions and events promoting the philosophy of wellbeing and happiness at work. One of them is the Scandinavian initiative “International Week of Happiness at Work”.
What does a happy employee bring to a company?
The workplace is not a luxury spa where we come to relax. It’ s about generating profit, not looking after its employees. Therefore, many people are surprised that an employer should care about the happiness of its employees and that it is profitable for the company. In 2010, the Gallup Institute calculated that US companies lose $300 billion every year due to a lack of engagement of their employees. Lack of engagement, decreased motivation and, ultimately, satisfaction with their job translates into low productivity and a tendency to change jobs. Research shows that a happy employee is more connected to their company, more devoted to their job, and above all, much more creative, productive and flexible. A happy employee is a happier person in general, and therefore also a healthier, more energetic person who gets sick less often and is less likely to take sick leave. Employees who feel happy and satisfied are less likely to suffer from burnout. Also the turnover rate in companies caring for wellbeing is lower.
Happiness in practice
Perhaps the policy of wellbeing and “happiness at work” is associated only with benefits such as multisport cards, delivery of fruit to the office, subsidised services (health care, insurance, meals). While these benefits are part and parcel of this approach, the concept of happiness at work extends much further into a company’s processes, systems, organisational culture and employee relations. An organisation that cares about the well-being of its employees is one in which the following elements are present:
- in the procedural area:
- transparency of norms and values, which, already at the level of recruitment processes, makes it possible to select candidates with a system of values consistent with those found in the organisation. Examples: well designed recruitment process, anti-mobbing procedures;
- clear procedures, i.e. the elimination of chaos and ambiguity in the performance of daily duties, which not only strengthens motivation, but prevents basic mistakes or conflicts. Examples: effective onboarding; decision-making process diagrams,job descriptions;
- clear rules for professional development and career paths. Examples: development workshops, appraisal interviews, courses and training, rules for internal recruitment;
- in terms of organisational culture:
- general respect for the generated value and for the other person; creating a working environment in which individuals have the right to express their opinion. Examples: surveys, polls, employee ideas boxes;
- appropriate internal communication, including empathic communication, important when introducing new concepts, e.g. motivational ones. Before introducing a given benefit it is worth listening to the opinions of the staff, as it may be that a gym pass will not meet the expectations of all employees, e.g. those who will not be able to use it due to health reasons. Examples: trainings for leaders and managers, communication codes;
- Meeting employees’ needs in accordance with the principle of proportionality – a benefits pyramid based on Maslow’s pyramid (basic needs first). Examples: an organisation should first ensure that employees can take their annual leave or pay their salaries on time, and then introduce additional benefits, e.g. lunch at the company’s expense once a month;
- creating an appropriate atmosphere at work and good individual and team relations – building a healthy atmosphere, i.e. without toxic relations, is fundamental. Moreover, creating an atmosphere of support and understanding. Examples: informal meetings e.g. for coffee, creating cooperation principles, forming interest groups;
- in the area of safety and health:
- Informing and making employees aware of healthy lifestyle principles. Examples: dietetic workshops, health promotion programmes;
- motivating and introducing good habits at work. Examples: supply of healthy snacks and fruit, breaks of a few minutes in front of the monitor, stretching during working time;
- taking care of health. Examples: health insurance, private medical care, extra massages in the workplace, ergonomic office furniture, relaxation rooms;
- mental health care. Examples: provision of access to psychological help, mentoring, coaching
International Week of Happiness at Work
20 - 26 September 2021
A happy employee, is also a happy parent, neighbour or customer, in fact all companies should care about the wellbeing and happiness of their staff to make the world a better place to live for everyone. That’ s how the idea behind the creators of the Week of happiness at work initiative, Maartje Wolff and Fennande van der Meulen, can be summarised very simply. Created in 2017 in Denmark, the concept highlights the benefits of taking care of people’s needs in the workplace. Since 2018, the event has been celebrated in various ways in many countries around the world. Above all, the founders of the idea encourage widespread discussion and promotion of the happiness at work manifesto.
At Eximius Park, we believe that the workplace itself is not everything. Our mission is to create a space which will be a source of satisfaction in life, among other things, by addressing important topics. Therefore, we encourage you to join this initiative by discussion about the human needs in the workplace.