Category Archives: Happy at work book

Help me name my book

Happy at work bookLast week I asked for help naming my book about happiness at work and great suggestions have been flowing in. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed.

I can still use more ideas, so please let me know what you think would be a great, eye-catching and happy title.

My favorites so far are:

  • “Oh Happy (Work)day” based on Paul’s suggestion
  • “Happy hour is 9 to 5” based on Greg’s, Lars’s and PJ’s suggestion
  • “Happiness at work??? as Bob suggested (and as I originally suggested)

The book also needs a catchy subtitle, and here are my favorites so far:

  • How to love your job and boost your career, your life and your profits. Based on Fleejay’s idea.
  • The Chief Happiness Officer on how to make yourself happier and more successful at work. Based on Rodolpho’s suggestion.
  • How to love your job, love your life and kick butt at work. My idea.

What do you think? Any of this grab you? Got any more ideas? I’m still totally open about this and have made no decision, so write a comment if you have a suggestion.

Get to it

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

– Theodore Roosevelt

So. The book is ending.

Right around this time the typical business book would probably tell you to:

  • Set ambitious goals
  • Prioritize those goals
  • Set milestones
  • Go to it with determination and willpower

This might work if you’re building a bridge, but it does not work for making yourself and your organization happy. I suggest that you do indeed make a plan, but that you do the exact opposite of the typical plan.

So I’m not going to give you the whole “if you want things to get better, you must do something about it yourself” and “it doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or the security guard, YOU can make a change” spiel. Either you already know this or I can’t convince you that it’s true.

And anyway, it doesn’t matter if you believe it or not.
Continue reading Get to it

The six practices of happy, succesful workplaces

This chapter is not yet finished – but I really need your help, so I’m posting it now.

Am I on the right track? It kinda feels like the advice here is either too simple or too complex to be useful. I want people to read this chapter and be inspired by what other great companies are doing. To get ideas they can implement themselves.

Is it working? What do you think?

How to make your business happy – in practice

What can a workplace do to make its people want to be happy there? Given that raises, bonuses and perks don’t work what are the things that do? We could start from scratch and invent some methods and tools, but it makes much more sense to learn from the best practices already out there. What is it that the best, happiest and most successful companies do to reach high levels of happiness, excellence and profits? What makes their people consistently choose to be happy at work and lets employees and leaders work together to create great workplaces?

And let’s not just look at what they do, let’s look at what they do that can readily be stolen implented in your workplace. Let’s focus on practices that are:

  • Generic – so they apply to almost any workplace, big or small, private or government
  • Effective – so they make a real difference
  • Fun – so they make people happy
  • Good for business – so they’ll get you more results

Continue reading The six practices of happy, succesful workplaces

Make your organization happy

Hal Rosenbluth had made a provocative decision: As CEO of Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency employing 6.000 people, he decided that his company would put the employees first. Where other companies aim first to satisfy customers or investors, Rosenbluth made it their first priority to make their employees happy.

The results were fantastic. Record growth, record profits and, most importantly, customers raved about the service they got from Rosenbluth’s happy employees. Hal Rosenbluth explained the company’s approach in a book whose title elegantly sums up his philosophy: “Put The Customer Second – Put Your People First And Watch’em Kick Butt”.

A company’s commitment to its values is most thoroughly tested in adversity and Rosenbluth hit its share of adversity right after 9/11. Overnight, corporate travel was reduced to a fraction of its former level and it recovered more slowly than anyone predicted.

Rosenbluth tried everything in their power to avoid layoffs. They cut expenses. Staff took pay cuts and so did managers and executives. But in the end they had to face it: Layoffs were inevitable and they decided to fire 1.000 out their 6.000 employees. How do you handle this situation in a company that puts its people first?

In his book’s most moving chapter, an epilogue written after 9/11, Hal Rosenbluth explains that though layoffs don’t make employees happy, not doing the layoffs and then going bankrupt at a later date would have made even more people even more unhappy.

Hal Rosenbluth recounts how he wrote a letter to the organization explaining the decision and the thinking behind it in detail. The result was amazing: People who’d been fired streamed into Hal’s office, many in tears, telling him they understood and thanking him for their time at the company.

Rosenbluth’s letter also contained a pledge: That those remaining at the company would do everything they could to bring the company back on track so they could rehire those who’d been fired. Six months later, they’d hired back 500 out of the 1.000 and the company was solidly on its way to recovery.

Choose happiness

Once you’ve made yourself happy at work, it’s time to spread that good mood inside the organization and make more people there happy at work. This is obviously a bigger job but it is entirely possible and while some companies are born happy, many more are made happy somewhere along the way.

The next few chapters are for leaders at different levels, who want to spread some happiness in their team, department, division or, heck, clear across the entire business.
Continue reading Make your organization happy

Effective, easy, fun things to make yourself happy at work

Happiness at work comes from the things you and I do here and now. Not from whitepapers, committees or corporate mission statements.

There are so many things you can do – the important thing is that you do something.

This chapter has plenty of things you can start with, and focuses especially on things that are:

  1. Basic – so they work for most people in almost any job
  2. Important – so they make a difference
  3. Easy – so they don’t stress you out
  4. Effective – so they give you quick results
  5. Contagious – so they spread once a few people start doing it
  6. Fun – so you’ll actively enjoy doing them

Imagine the opposite: A book that tells you, that the road to happiness at work is long, difficult and unpleasant. It would be best to drop such a book very quickly indeed.

With that in mind here are some great, easy, effective and above all fun places to start.
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A model for happiness at work

A simple model for happiness at work

A simple 3-step model shows what it takes to make a workplace happy, and it’s shown in the figure below.

Happy model

The model has three layers, three areas which make a difference to people’s happiness at work. Each of these layers are important, but one is often ignored – and it happens to be the most important one.
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How to make yourself happy at work: Attention, Intention, Action

So you want to be happy at work. What should you do?

There are certainly enough things on the menu. Should you read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? Or maybe the Getting Things Done system is right for you. You could focus on Personal Excellence or develop Brand You. Is coaching what you need? Or to learn to coach others? Assertiveness? Maybe some anti-stress training. Or some conflict mediation. Career counselling? Or developing your communication skills, your presentation skills or your…

The options are almost endless and most of them are even pretty good. But it’s better to start somewhere else. With something even simpler. Something more basic.

The best model I know for creating positive, effective change is attention, intention, action. And in the case of happiness we have to it positively, so the model becomes:

  1. Positive attention – notice what’s already good and what has worked previously
  2. Positive intention – make a positive intention that focuses on what you want more off, not what you want to avoid
  3. Positive action- do something positive to fulfill your intention

Let’s starts with attention.
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About the Happy at Work Book

About the book

The book aims to convince you that:

  • Each and every one of us can be happy at work
  • Being happy at work will not only make work more fun, it will also improve your quality of life outside of work and make you more successful
  • Happy businesses are much more efficient than unhappy ones so happiness makes great business sense
  • Happiness at work is not rocket science – what it takes to make yourself and your workplace happy is simple to do


The book is structured around the three basic questions we must remember to ask about any important topic:

  1. What – What is happiness at work anyway
  2. Why – Why does happiness at work matter to you and me and to our workplaces?
  3. How – So, how exactly can we make ourselves and others happy at work. What works, what doesn’t?

Continue reading About the Happy at Work Book

Who is responsible for happiness at work?

The order of the elephant
The Order of the Elephant. This little guy helped turn around a childrens hospital ward from an unhappy workplace to a very happy one.

Helle Schier, a soft-spoken, engaging woman in her mid-twenties was excited. She’d just graduated from nursing school, and had already gotten her first job as a nurse at Odense University Hospital.

But when she told a friend that she was going to work at H4, a childrens ward, her friend’s reaction was “Well, I’m not sure if I should congratulate you.” It turned out that H4 had quite a reputation. The nurses rarely helped each other out. The doctors disliked the nurses and that was very much mutual. The nurses disliked the administrative staff who in turn didn’t feel their work was being appreciated. It was not a happy place to work.

Helle still started working there with a positive attitude, but was soon forced to agree: It was a horrible place, and working there was getting her down. She didn’t like her job at all, didn’t feel productive and started to question whether being a nurse was right for her at all.

But Helle wouldn’t put up with it and she wouldn’t quit. She decided she would do something about it.

Continue reading Who is responsible for happiness at work?

The happy at work book – Introduction

Happy at work.

Happy? At work?

Happy… at work?

Is it possible to be happy at work? Can we go to work and be energized, have fun, do great work, enjoy the people we work with, have fun with our customers, be proud of what we do and look forward to our monday mornings? Can we create workplaces where happiness is the norm?

Or must we simply accept that work is unpleasant and tough and that is why we get paid to do it?
Continue reading The happy at work book – Introduction