Category Archives: Happy At Work

How to be happy at work

How to succeed in business if you’re not a morning person

Work has moved from cow to computer, but workplaces still favour early risers and an industrial-age view of productivity.

Camilla Kring has a PhD in Work-Life Balance and as owner of Super Navigators, makes workplaces happier by increasing the Work-Life Balance of their employees. She is specialized in creating flexible work cultures that support our differences in family forms, work forms and biological rhythms.

This is her talk from the International Conference on Happiness at Work 2017 in Copenhagen. Flexibility is among the keys to well-being, and management must have the courage to address the flexibility of their company’s work culture because culture determines whether employees have the courage to make use of flexibility.

The first step is to set people free from 9-5 and that work is something that only can take place at the office. Work is not a place – it’s an ongoing activity. Second, focus more on results and less on visibility. Third, give people the tools to improve their individual Work-Life Balance.

With Great Talent Comes Great Responsibility – how goals and KPIs demotivate the best employees

More and more workplaces want to measure everything. KPIs, scorecards and performance goals are supposed to motivate employees and help increase their productivity. But is that really a good way to motivate employees and makes them happy?

Helle Hein has a ph.d. in management and has done research on motivation for the past 20 years.

Her research shows that many people are not motivated by metrics and bonuses but by something more meaningful – a professional calling or a cause that matters deeply to them. Leading these people based only on performance measures and financial rewards leads to frustration and a huge loss of talent and motivation.

In this talk from the International Conference on Happiness at work 2017 in Copenhagen she will show you how your organization can get the most out of its most talented employees, what really motivates people (no, it’s not bonuses) and how to make sure that people feel that their work really matters to them.

If someone you care about is thinking about quitting a terrible job, support them

This is the ultimate cost of not quitting a job you hate: A British teenage apprentice car mechanic killed himself after being bullied by coworkers:

On one occasion, the young man said his colleagues had locked him in a cage at the garage by force, doused him in a flammable liquid and set fire to his clothes.

His father told the inquest that the evening before his death, George had been pacing around the house, saying “I have to quit, I can’t go back there” over and over again.

Having told his son not to resign from his job and that things would get better, Mr Cheese said he now realised how “ridiculous” this response was.

First of all, the workplace should be held legally responsible for letting that kind of behavior happen. The supervisor even knew about it:

George’s line manager, Simon Wright, who admitted to playing a number of pranks on George, told the inquest: “I was in the workshop when a prank was played on George and he was set on fire.

“It did not go too far. We knew where to draw the line,” he said.

“It was not bullying.”

Oh yes it was.

The main lesson to take away form this is that if someone you care about is miserable at work and wants to quit, support them.

The correct answer to “I hate my job and want to quit,” is not “You just need to tough it out, things will get better.” The correct answer is “Great idea, how can I help you in that situation.”

Quitting is not an easy choice but sometimes it is the only choice. And the price of not making that choice can be very, very high.

Related posts

Our First International Conference on Happiness at Work was a HIT!

Last week we had our first ever International Conference about Happiness at Work.

We’ve done 7 previous events but they were all in Danish (mostly). This year we took the plunge and made the whole event international and in English and we’re so glad we did.

200 awesome participants from 19 countries came to Copenhagen to learn from some great experts, researchers and practitioners and by all accounts they had a GREAT time.

In the preliminary participant feedback, 95% give the conference the highest rating.

We’ve already released the first video from the conference – my talk on The Science of Happiness at Work. We’ll be releasing more talks over the next weeks – follow this blog or subscribe to our newsletter if you don’t want to miss them.

Using the Science of Happiness to Create Happier and More Successful Companies

Happy workplaces are more profitable and innovative, attract the best employees and have lower absenteeism and employee turnover rates. Simply put, happy companies make more money.

But how do you create a happy workplace? Many companies try and fail because they focus on the wrong things.

Some of the best answers are found in the happiness science – a fascinating field with research going on all over the world.

In this talk from our 2017 International Conference on Happiness at Work I reveal the 5 most important findings from Positive Psychology and how they apply in the workplace.

We’ll be releasing more talks from the conference soon. Subscribe to our newsletter, if you don’t want to miss them.

What a day. What a lovely day.

Our first international conference on happiness at work is done and WHAT a day. 200 participants from 19 countries met in Copenhagen for a day full of talks by experts and representatives from some of the world’s happiest workplaces.

We will start releasing the videos from the day soon, but here’s a short video with some of our favorite photos from the day, all taken by our amazing photographer Gareth Garvey.

Coming to our conference? Introduce yourself!

Our first International Conference on Happiness at Work is only a week away. We currently have 200 participants coming from 17 countries and we can’t wait to meet all of you in Copenhagen.

We would love to know a little bit more about you, specifically:

  1. One thing that makes you happy at work
  2. Your most important question about happiness at work
  3. What you most hope to get out of the conference

Write a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Being great at your work vs. feeling great about your work

If we want to be happy in our jobs, we need to be good at our jobs.

We human beings have a basic need to know that we contribute, create value and can make a difference and effect change in our environment.

That’s why doing a good a job feels amazing. It gives us feelings like pride, accomplishment, fulfilment, growth and worth.

On the other hand, when we feel that we don’t perform well at work, it creates feelings like inadequacy and lack of control plus of course fear that we might lose our jobs.

And it’s also in the company’s best interest to make sure that every single employee and team is getting great results and living up to their potential. Companies typically focus on 4 areas to make that happen:

  • Skills: Training, competencies, job skills match,  …
  • Resources: Time, tools, IT-systems, …
  • Structure: Organization, plans, goals, budgets, strategy, processes, …
  • Support: Coworker+manager support, coaches/mentors, …

These are all important and enable us to get results. If your workplace is not giving employees these 4 things, then how on earth can you expect them to perform well?

If we want people to be happier at work, we can definitely help them get better results. We can give them better training, more resources, more support, etc. in order to help them perform better.

However, many people already get great results – but don’t feel that way. And if that’s the case, then they won’t be very happy at work.

This is a crucial distinction that few companies make – the distinction between getting good results and feeling good about those results. If we want employees to be happy at work, they also need the latter - and many don’t have that.

When that is the case, employees may get great results right now but it won’t be sustainable. When people are not happy at work, it hurts their motivation, productivity and creativity. Stress and burnout tend to follow.

So in addition to helping employees get great results, companies also need to make sure that people feel great about their results.

There are 3 things that give us that feeling of results.

1: Meaning

I saw this sign in the lobby of Danish pharmaceutical company Xellia, carrying probably the simplest and most inspiring company purpose I’ve ever seen.

As you may know, one of the biggest current medical crises is the increasing risk of infection by multi-resistant bacteria, which are immune to traditional antibiotics. Xellia produces an antibiotic that is still effective against multi-resistant bacteria. Their research and products directly saves lives all over the world.

It’s crucial that we know what we have to do at work, but  equally crucial that we know why we do it.

That is what gives work meaning and purpose: when you know why you do each task and how it somehow helps someone.

And it’s not enough that your work is meaningful to the organization – it must be meaningful to you. Your work must have a purpose that you believe is worthy.

On the other hand, if you have no idea why your work matters and no sense that it makes any kind of a difference, it really doesn’t matter how good you are at your job – you won’t be very happy.

Many workplaces take great pains to give employees performance goals to clearly show them what they are expected to do. But we must make equally sure to show employees why their work matters and how it makes a positive difference.

US online retailer Zappos are a great example of this. Whereas most customer service reps are measured on how many calls/emails they handle, Zappos’ employees are measured primarily on how happy they make their customers. The former metric makes sense only to the company, the latter is meaningful for employees too because it shows them that they make a positive difference for the customers.

2: Autonomy

When you are free to do your job your way, you are much more likely to take pride in your results and feel good about them.

On the other hand, if a micro-managing boss is telling you exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it, you are much less likely to feel good about the results you get, because they won’t be your results.

As much as possible, we should be free to choose:

  • What we work on
  • Who we work with
  • What approaches and methods to use
  • When and where we work

One of my favorite examples of this is Middelfart Savings Bank in Denmark, one of the happiest workplaces in Europe. How did they achieve that? They gave their employees huge levels of freedom and responsibility. Their former HR directors said this:

“You’d be amazed what happens once people are empowered to make decisions.”

Another amazing example comes from the US Navy, where nuclear submarine captain David Marquet gave his sailors unprecedented autonomy. He explained how he did it at our conference in 2015:

3: Appreciation

And finally, we feel good about the work we do when we are recognized for it.

Harvard Business School professors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer talk about this in their awesome book The Progress Principle. They sum up the book’s main message like this:

Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.

Even a small win can make all the difference in how people feel and perform.

Creating a culture of positive feedback in an organization is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to give employees a feeling of results.

When your coworkers, your boss or even the customers praise your good work, it clearly shows that you make a difference and get great results.

On the other hand, if you feel you do good work but nobody ever notices, it becomes much harder to maintain pride in your work. Some companies even take it a step further – they never praise good work, but all mistakes are instantly and severely punished.

Our absolute favorite way to praise others at work is The Poncho. Try it!

The upshot

It’s not enough to help employees get great results – we must help them get a feeling of results.

Of course we first need them to do good work. No one should expect to feel good about their work, if they’re not doing a very good job in the first place.

But that’s not enough.

Happiness at work only comes when people know that their work has meaning and purpose, when they have freedom and autonomy in how they work and when they are appreciated and recognized for their good work.

Imagine the opposite. Imagine that you’re very good at your job and get great results. But you have no idea why any of your tasks matter, somebody else has decided how you work on those tasks leaving you no freedom and autonomy and you are never recognized for any of your efforts.

How happy could you be at work under those conditions? How good would your results be in the long run? How soon would you lose all motivation and burn out?

So improving how people feel about their results is crucial.

It’s also a lot easier. Provided a person is very good at their job already, improving their feeling of results may be a lot faster and easier than improving their actual results.

It’s also a lot more effective, because if we can’t figure out how to make people feel proud and appreciated about their work, it doesn’t matter how stellar their results are – they will never be happy at work and their performance will ultimately suffer.

Related posts

Announcing the final 2 AMAZING speakers at our international conference

We have just announced the final 2 AWESOME speakers for our International Conference on Happiness at Work in May.

Camilla Kring: Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

Camilla Kring has a PhD in Work-Life Balance and as owner of Super Navigators, makes workplaces happier by increasing the Work-Life Balance of their employees.

She will show how flexibility is among the keys to well-being, and management must have the courage to address the flexibility of their company’s work culture because culture determines whether employees have the courage to make use of flexibility.

The first step is to set people free from 9-5 and that work is something that only can take place at the office. Work is not a place – it’s an ongoing activity. Second, focus more on results and less on visibility. Third, give people the tools to improve their individual Work-Life Balance.

Arnaud Collery: Storytelling and improvisation

Arnaud is an award winning Comedian and filmmaker (NBC’s last comic standing, MTV, Fuji TV, Comedy store, Little Klaus Big World – Best comedy film Monaco Film Festival 2012). He has coached numerous CEOs in myriad industries. He’s worked with clients like Cartier, Chanel, United Nations, Novartis, Axa, L’Oreal, BMW and Renault Trucks.

In his workshop Arnaud will show how we can find even more happiness in our careers, by understanding, owning and reframing our own stories. He will help you to build stronger, deeper and more relaxed relationships with your team and all those around you.

The workshop will be fun and fast-paced and based on techniques from storytelling and improvisational theatre.

See the full program and get your tickets here.