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Our 5 best practices for improving work happiness

Of course, work happiness is a big topic and depends on more than just a few practices. So where can you start when you want to improve work happiness in your company? Here are five practices to go with.

Research identifies four main areas that are important for work happiness. These are 1) the relationships that you form at work and that make you feel that you belong; 2) whether you can use and develop your talents; 3) freedom and autonomy to do your job the best way you can and 4) the idea that your work has meaning. When you want to start improving your happiness, start prototyping your way towards this goal. Difficult to start? We identified five practices from these four areas, from small to bold, that you can start with today to increase happiness in your organization. We will give you a short description of the practice and the link, so if you like it, you can start prototyping right away. Here we go:

1. Start thinking positive

This is one that you can start with even if you are on your own: Create a positive-thinking-diary (because nothing positive has ever come from being negative). So, take a digital or a paper notebook and write today’s date down. Note down three things that happened today which were positive. Behind these three things, write what you did to make this happen. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day, to create a collection of positivity and how you contributed to that.

2. Start spreading the word, by writing a thank you letter

Now take it a step further and start including your colleagues: Choose a colleague and write down all the good things about her, that you would like to thank her for. Also write down how her actions specifically helped you. For example, if she is especially good at giving feedback,  tell her also how her feedback has helped you improve. And now? Well, you guessed it: Send her the letter! Or even better: read it to her. This way you strengthen the feeling of connectedness and gratitude.

Are these two practices too soft for you? Okay, then let us shift to talents:

3. Help people in your team be the best versions of themselves and contribute

Schedule a workshop with your team and discuss each person’s strengths and what the areas that drain their energy are. Then try to allocate team roles accordingly and close relevant gaps. The discussion and the process will help your team to be more balanced and help people to use their own strengths.

4. Designing team roles

Apart from using their talents, job happiness increases when people know how they specifically contribute to the team or the organization. So if you don’t have them yet, start designing team roles. Roles are smaller than function profiles. They describe a specific area of responsibility with a goal and the expected deliverables. And: People can have more than one role and roles can be changed, when different needs arise. That way, people always know that their work is meaningful and contributes to the team. No more bullshit jobs!

Now, let’s turn to the last important factor of work happiness: Freedom!

Now, let’s turn to the last important factor of work happiness: Freedom!

5. Give people the autonomy to do their job as good as they can

Giving autonomy can be scary, because it means giving up control. This can be especially scary, if a person has just taken over a new role, that they still need to grow into. To strike a balance, define clearly what people can decide on their own, when they should consult with a colleague and when they should ask their boss. You can do this by asking which decision area is above the waterline, meaning a wrong decision is no drama, and which are below the waterline, meaning a wrong decision might sink your organization.

Start small, start now

Do you want to really work on that happiness? Start prototyping today. If you want to read more on how prototyping can increase job happiness at your organization, also check our page on job happiness. Or just attend one of our introductory workshops this month! Check this site for more information about happiness at work?

Other posts about happiness

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