This week is International Week of Happiness at Work.  Who knew!?  So, what is it, and how can YOU get involved?

23rd to 27th September are the days on which to be happy at work.   It’s official.  Happiness – it’s a serious business.

Significantly, though, it IS a serious issue, and not just over a few days.  Everyone wants to be happy, and given that many of us spend so much time at work, enjoying what you do is essential, surely?

Believe it or not, it was Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher who coined the immortal phrase, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.  Well, we can’t argue with that one, can we?

This year’s International Week of Happiness at Work is about putting this important topic at the top of our Things to Do list.  Although this initiative is new (the first one was only last year), it’s gaining ground.  In 2019, 27 countries including the UK will be raising awareness of how positive attitudes in the workplace can only result in good things – such as greater work satisfaction and higher productivity.

Have you ever been part of an unhappy workplace?

Most of us have experienced misery at work at some stage in our lives.

Maybe stress was the issue, or overwork, or heaven forbid workplace bullying.  Nobody wins. It is generally known that a common cause for people leaving their professional positions is due to a lack of satisfaction in their workplace. Why? Resentment, anger and unhappiness.  Not good.

Happy staff equals a hard-working, motivated workforce. Equals a higher performing business.  Job done.  A simple idea, but nothing short of genius.

What’s the International Week of Happiness at Work all about?

This initiative has been brought to life by Maartje Wolff and Fennande van der Meulen, two Dutch entrepreneurs who founded their business Happy Office in 2015.  Happy Office is a training and development company whose focus is on effecting change within organisations from the top downwards.  Not just any change; a change of mindset from “okay-ish” to “loving it”.

Fascinating fact: they’re certified team coaches and trainers with accreditations from the rather marvellously named Woohoo Academy in Denmark!

Maarte and Fennande launched the International Week of Happiness at Work because they, like many others, firmly believe that happiness at work is important.  Why?  Because it engenders:

  • Happy employees

  • Better parents

  • More engaged friendships

  • Better members of the community

They’ve even launched their own Happiness Manifesto, and you can read all about it here:

The Philosophy

These two ladies radiate positivity.  Their view is that happiness should be the norm rather than the exception.  With happiness comes improved health, a more positive outlook on life, and greater success.

If you’re happy at work, you’re more likely to be more creative, more engaged in your job, more innovative and just generally more grateful and pleased when the alarm goes off in the morning than not.

Also, happy folks are less likely to call in sick, and more likely to want to remain part of the workforce, even to develop their careers and grow with the company.

Importantly, happiness at work focuses on less politics (everyone’s bugbear), fewer rules, less complicated procedures and poor management.  Both sides win.  And in fact, happy people stop even seeing “sides”.

Happy Office see this initiative as a shared responsibility between the employer and his or her employees.  That makes good sense, we think.

Let’s Get Started

So, how about these ideas for great happiness at YOUR workplace?  You could suggest at least one today.  Go on, we dare you!

  • Go out for lunch together. Or, find somewhere that’s not at your desk for your team to sit and eat.  Talk about non-work-related things.  And NO business gossip, please.

  • Organise drinks after work with your colleagues.

  • Discuss ways of improving communication in the workplace. This is often a source of employee frustration.

  • Encourage a discussion about what would make people at work happier. Take notes, type it up and discuss it with your manager.

  • Invite an expert to give a talk at lunchtime about wellbeing issues, for example managing stress, or building exercise into your daily routine.

  • Start an initiative to change the organisation’s culture into one that gives more positive feedback. In other words – praise.  A “well done” from a senior manager can lift us up for days.

  • Create your own Happiness at Work Manifesto.

So, what’s stopping you?  Whether you work full-time, part-time or as a volunteer, it’s important to love what you do.  Life is short, so make the most of every second.

For more information on the International Week of Happiness at Work, click here: