The BBC on happiness at work

bbcIt’s official, happiness at work matters!

Forget salary, location, prospects – happiness is the new weapon in the drive to recruit the best and brightest new workers.

Would the BBC lie to us? I think not!

The article actually deals both with having a happy brand and happy employees, and cites Google and Orange as examples of companies who practice this.

All eschew the sleek corporate image once associated with success, favouring instead cute hand-drawn logos and chatty spiels about the company ethos.

Not only does this seem to appeal to customers, it proves quite a hook for prospective employees. To be in employment is, for most of us, a given. And Britons work the longest hours in Europe. So why not try to make it sound as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible?

I like it, but not everyone agrees. Check out this comment on the article:

What a crock…. I, like almost everyone I have ever met come to work to earn a living to pay for the things they like/need. If they did not need to work they would be sat at home watching the footy…….

Maybe he’s right, and we should all just accept that work is by definition unpleasant and that’s why we get paid to do it :o)

7 thoughts on “The BBC on happiness at work”

  1. I have been in various employment for 42 years & have ALWAYS been happy in my work – changing jobs whenever neccessary – but I mostly credit that state of affairs to an appropriate attitude of mind. As long as today’s employers are genuinely committed to sustainably providing a workplace that stimulates an appropriate attitude of mind – I am sure that many many others will feel as I do after 42 years.

  2. Sure, work isn’t always skipping through a forest of cotton candy and lollipops, but it certainly speaks to the frame of mind of the person who’s commented at the article about how unhappy he/she truly is.

    Yes, work can suck sometimes – so can life. But living with the idea that work is unpleasant and must always be unpleasant – how depressing! It’s just a negative feedback loop that is self-sustaining. If you tell yourself work must be unpleasant… then it most certainly will be.

  3. This is for everyone that’s currently doing a job they hate, but getting compensated well for it: If you start doing something that you love you will make over 10 times what you are now!

  4. Michael: I like your thinking. It is about creating good workplaces when we can and switching jobs when we can’t. Congratulations in 42 happy working years!

    Can you imagine looking back on 42 unhappy work year – or simply 42 years that were kinda OK and not too bad?

    shel: That’s exactly it – this attitude is self-sustaining. If that’s what you believe, then it’s true!

    Theo: That has certainly been my experience!

  5. ‘Would the BBC lie to us? I think not!’

    Alex, some might disagree: http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/. But I’m not going to go off on an anti-BBC rant, ’cause I’m not sure rants are too appropriate on a blog about happiness and enjoying work :) I assume you heard about Google rising to the top:

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2007/full_list/

    I’m interested, what do you think of that list? Does it match up with your research? (I think it is US only)

    Keep up the good work, your blog continues to be inspiring.

  6. Andrew: I took a look at the list, and while I don’t know many of the companies on there, many of the “usual suspects” are certainly included. Google, Container Store, Whole Foods, W.L. Gore, Starbucks, Nordstrom and others are certainly familiar cases from the books I’ve read.

    Also, we should remember that not every company competes here. In fact, only around 500 companies entered the competition, so making the top 100 list is not THAT impressive. Companies with less than 1000 employees can not participate – even though most of them would probably be better workplaces than the big guys,

    Also, a company’s score depends no only on what its employees say. Here’s some info from the website:
    “Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the survey, which is sent to a minimum of 400 randomly selected employees from each company and asks about things such as attitudes toward management, job satisfaction, and camaraderie. The remaining third of the score comes from our evaluation of each company’s responses to the institute’s Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about demographic makeup, pay, and benefits programs, and open-ended questions about the company

  7. Hmm, does sound like the study has a lot of built-in bias (possibly some of it makes it easier to administer, but still…). Still an interesting list, though, no doubt, for people targeting themselves at that kind of employment.

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