In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor states that recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that happiness fuels success, not the other way round. In fact, he suggests that companies that focus on employee happiness could see a 30% or more increase in productivity.

This week, the world celebrates the International Week of Happiness At Work in order to help companies prioritise this important factor in the life of your employee.

But what is happiness in the workplace? And is it really your company’s responsibility to promote happiness in the workplace?

The answer to the second question is YES! The UAE government is setting the example by claiming that it takes responsibility for the happiness of its employees. But you needn’t justify your company’s role in employee happiness for any other reason than this: Your employees are humans with basic human needs…and those needs to turn off and on again whenever they enter and leave the workplace.

Here’s what happiness in the workplace looks like. How you can create a more positive, happy environment? We all want employees to feel less stressed, more empowered, happy and productive.


Happiness is feeling balanced.

Employees tend to sacrifice much of their well-being in the name of work. This can be their physical health, sleep schedules, family life or other important personal aspects of life. Because they are accountable to you and your company for their work, they put a higher priority on that work than on these other areas of life.

Your company can set the example by showing your employees that you prioritise their health and well-being. This can come in the form of health care initiatives, fun community projects, group walking days or other fun and free activities that show your employees they are more than just a worker.


Happiness is liking the people you work with.

One of the things that makes people happy in the workplace is their healthy relationships with their employers and with their co-workers. If you’ve ever struggled to get along with a co-worker, then you can understand the true value of harmony in the workplace.

But camaraderie is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve in these post-pandemic times. With many employees working from home or bouncing back and forth between home and the office, it can be challenging to create a unified team.

Consider making this challenge fun for both yourself and your employees. Partner with them to come up with ideas for you all to stay connected. You could host virtual lunches, create a get-to-know-you trivia game or work together to support a charity. There are no limits to what you can create if you work together with your employees.


Happiness is feeling autonomous and empowered.

It is important that employees are very clear on their roles and responsibilities in the workplace. Making sure each employee has clarity on where they stand in the hierarch of the company. What does their role encompass? How they can best communicate with their managers and co-workers? These actions will relieve stress and empower them to work efficiently.

It’s a myth that clear boundaries are restrictive. They’re actually freeing because they allow employees to work and make decisions without fear and they prevent employees from being burdened with decisions that are outside their realm of responsibility. Boundaries help people feel in control.


Happiness is enjoying your work tasks.

No one likes to be bored. It’s important that people feel challenged appropriately in their role. People enjoy taking on a challenge that is not too difficult, but also pushes them to grow and think beyond their normal boundaries. It’s also important that within their well-defined roles, they vary types of tasks that they can perform. This helps to keep them from becoming too routine and bored.

It’s a good idea to regularly evaluate the roles and tasks of each position and to evaluate the employees in those positions. Always be willing to tweak roles or move people around if you see that an employee is chronically unhappy in their position.


Happiness is being creative.

Consider inviting your employees into conversations about new ideas for the company. Your employees are a wellspring of untapped creative potential that you can take benefit from. Allowing them to have that voice in the shaping of your company and its products and services gives them a strong sense of ownership and participation.

This elevates their happiness and morale, making them more likely to stay for the long term. This also benefits your recruitment and retention numbers, which saves your company money in the long run.


Happiness is feeling financially secure.

Companies lose money every year due to lost productivity over the financial insecurity of their employees. Giving your employees a sense of financial security doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give everyone a pay rise immediately. Knowledge is power and many of your employees are shockingly illiterate when it comes to finances.

You can create regular monthly, bi-annual or annual events to update your employees on the benefits you’re providing them. This ensures they’re taking full advantage of everything offered – after all, you’re paying for it already anyway. You can provide them with free financial counselling. You can also provide guidance for them to plan for their retirement.

Educating your employees about their financial situations is a cost-effective way to reduce worry and stress in the workplace. Plus, it leads to greater productivity and employee happiness.

The main thing to keep in mind when prioritising happiness in the workplace is that your employees are multi-dimensional people with a variety of personalities, skills, interests, needs, etc. Chances are good that you have the right people on your team. Going the extra mile to recognise and work with that individuality will yield great results for them and for your company.

Could your company benefit from a happier and more productive workforce? But you don’t know where to start? Contact us. We work with small to mid-sized companies to fill in the gaps in your forward-looking HR programmes while staying within your organisation’s budget.