Category Archives: Leading with Happiness Book

Happiness at work in the time of Corona – back to basics

COVID-19 is a massive challenge for workplaces all over the world as well as a massive challenge for employees’ private lives and mental health.

Knowing that unhappy/stressed employees are less productive and less innovative (right when we need everyone to contribute to solutions to these challenges) it becomes crucial for companies to figure out how to make their employees happy at work.

Paradoxically, many of the traditional perks and activities that companies use are currently impossible or irrelevant, including things like:

  • Office gyms
  • Fancy coffee machines
  • Workplace parties
  • Team-building events

So on the one hand it’s incredibly important to focus on employee happiness right now but on the other hand many of the traditional approaches are completely impractical.

If you’ve followed our work at all, you know that we’re critical of all of those perks listed above anyway. We argue that they make employees satisfied rather than happy and are therefore mostly a waste of time and money.

What do we do in that situation? We go back to basics and focus on the things that really make people happy at work: Results and relationships. I talk more about that in this video:

Results

We all want to get results. We all want to make a difference, know that our work is important, get appreciation and do work that we can be proud of.

One of our deepest psychological needs, is the need to control our environment. If we’re placed in a situation where we have no control, where nothing we do matters, we feel terrible. On the other hand, we love to make a difference. Accomplishment feels great. As Franklin D. Roosevelt put it:

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

Relationships

We all need to feel valued as human beings and have a good connection with co-workers and managers or even to customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the organization’s wider community.

Relationships at work matter so much because we will be spending a lot of time with people at work. When you think about it, you’ll be spending more of your waking hours with them, than with your friends and family.

How do we do this

So this is the secret to happiness at work: Results and relationships – doing great work together with great people. This is what we must give our employees every single day.

Figuring out how to do this given current limitations is a crucial challenge. I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers but here are some ideas that might work.

Online stand-up meetings

IT company Menlo Innovations start all work days with a brief stand-up meeting where all employees share what they’re working on today to check in and coordinate work. This meeting has now moved online and is still a crucial part of making sure that everyone knows what’s going on.

They recently shared how they have managed to create remote work days that almost feel like being in the office.

Online lunches

When everyone is in the office, connection happens automatically and randomly throughout the day. When people are working from home, you have to plan consciously to make them happen. One friend of mine works at an IT company where they have scheduled online lunch breaks where they can relax and chat together.

Check in with people

Similarly, when people are in the office, you can get a sense of how they’re doing. If someone seems worried or stressed you have a chance to notice and act on it. If you don’t see people for weeks at a time, this gets a lot harder, and you need a better way to check in with them. You can schedule regular brief meetings with each employee or you can use some online tool to measure your employees’ workplace happiness.

There are approximately a million different apps and tools for this out there – find one and try it. We are currently offering all workplaces a free 3-month trial of HeartCount which is (in our humble opinion) the best tool for measuring happiness at work. Sign up right here to try it in your workplace.

Online praise and recognition

Praise and recognition is crucial in the workplace but a lot harder to give when you don’t see people every day. Online systems can be a great alternative to let people praise each other and see what others are being recognized for.

Use online systems to highlight and communicate progress

Most work is being coordinated online already, but very often these systems are mostly used to communicate what we still need to do.

For instance: Do you have some kind of online todo list? What happens when you complete an item? In most systems, it disappears from the list and all you ever see is all the stuff you haven’t done.

I think we need to turn that around and use online systems to systematically highlight and overcommunicate our achievements and accomplishments.

What has worked for you?

What has your team or your workplace done that worked well? Please share your best ideas in a comment.

Related posts

Get my books (Happy Hour is 9 To 5 and Leading With Happiness) free of charge

Times are tough for for workplaces all over the world right now. I would like to share some of my tools in the hope that maybe it can help a little.

So I’m making my two main books available as pdf downloads free of charge for anyone who wants them. There’s also no annoying email signup required or anything – just click below to download either book.

Happy Hour is 9 To 5

“It’s very, very good. It’s incredibly well written, full of insights, and there are exercises to improve your own happiness at work. You can’t ask for more than that!”
– David Maister, author of Practice What You Preach

“I have read well over 100 articles/books on topics covering happiness in the workplace and your book was by far one of the best. In fact, it was so informative that I went on and sent the link to your book to my entire professional network.”
– Chris Hollins, President, talentgrade.com

This book clearly explains what happiness at work is (and isn’t) and what each of us can do to have work we love.

Click here to download Happy Hour Is 9 To 5.

Leading With Happiness

“What an inspiring book. Every leader should read it and learn how to promote happiness for employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and even the leader him- or herself. That type of leadership has been integral to our success and I know it will boost your results too.”
– Garry Ridge, CEO WD-40 Company

This book presents a simple but radical idea: The fundamental goal of any leader should be to increase happiness in the world. Leaders who don’t do that are doing it wrong.

Drawing on fascinating lessons from psychology, neurobiology and philosophy, the book demonstrates why leaders should put happiness first – for themselves, their employees, their customers, and the wider world – and why happy leaders are more successful.

Click here to download Leading With Happiness.

If you’d prefer to have either book as a kindle ebook or on paper (how old-school) they are available here and here.

Join our “Leading With Happiness” seminar in Copenhagen

Studies clearly show that a manager’s behavior has a huge influence on happiness at work. Good leaders motivate and energize their employees and create a level of happiness that make employees go the extra mile for the workplace and the customers. Bad managers on the other hand spread frustration and stress all around them.

This Leading with Happiness seminar is based on the newest research and knowledge about Happiness at Work. It will be inspiring and with useful tools. There is a constant shift between presentation, videos, reflection, dialog and exercises.

As a leader you will also get both the knowledge and tools you need to make your people happy at work. And it doesn’t take much. Happiness at work is not about raises, bonuses, perks and promotions – it comes from simple, effective actions that any leader ought to know and do.

When & where

Wednesday November 21st, 2018 from 9:00 – 16:00 in Copenhagen.

Tickets

See the full agenda and sign uo here.

Another CHO is born

Kristian Fischer, The Global VP of Professional Services at Tradeshift just changed his title to Chief Happiness Officer. Here’s how he announced it:

Yes! Finally got a new a new title – and I’m loving it already…

Strongly inspired by a great new book by Alexander Kjerulf I have taken a decision to change my title to (CHO) Chief Happiness Officer.

And that basically means that my main objective will be to make my colleagues happy. And if they are happy, so are our customers.

And if my customers are happy, I’m happy. And when I’m happy, so is my family.

What’s not to love…

How awesome :)

Here’s  my article on why every company should have a Chief Happiness Officer.

Your job: Make someone smile!

Danish CEO and entrepreneur Peer Krogh had one main message for his employees:

”The most important thing is really this:

Have you made someone smile today?

If you have, you’ve done a good job.”

He passed away in 2013, but the company still has that message written in the office and on badges like the one you see above.

What a great example of Leading With Happiness.

WD-40 Company keeps growing – and their happy tribe is why

One of our speakers at the 2018 International Conference on Happiness at Work is featured in an article called WD-40 Company Keeps Growing in This $1 Billion Market which lists the phenomenal results they’ve gotten recently:

If you look at the numbers, though, this is a fantastic business with high rates of return well suited for long-term investors.

This past quarter, the company continued to grow both the top and bottom lines and showed that it’s doing well at exploiting its most promising growth opportunity.

WD-40 is in a relatively mature market, so it’s remarkable that management continues to find avenues to grow sales and earnings.

At our conference, WD-40’s CEO Garry Ridge will explain the main reason behind this success: They’ve built a culture that is characterized by a sense of belonging, communication, having shared values, and continual learning between elder tribal leaders and younger tribe members.

Yes – they don’t see themselves as a team but a tribe, where employees don’t just work – they belong.

Garry is a truly inspiring speaker and what they’ve achieved at WD-40 is definitely worth learning from.

See the full conference program and get your tickets here.

Watch my keynote from the Happiness@Work conference in Prague


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of giving the closing keynote at the 3rd annual Happiness@Work conference in Prague to a sold-out audience of 350 people.

I spoke about Leading With Happiness based on my new book and you can see the entire speech above.

My new book, Leading With Happiness, is out TODAY

“Leading with happiness is compelling—it’s useful, well-researched, and downright fun to read.”
– Robert Sutton, Stanford professor and author

My latest book, Leading with Happiness: How the Best Leaders Put Happiness First to Create Phenomenal Business Results and a Better World is out TODAY and I could not be more excited.

The book presents a simple but radical idea: The fundamental goal of any leader should be to increase happiness in the world. Leaders who don’t do that, are doing it wrong.

Drawing on lessons from psychology, neurobiology and philosophy, the book demonstrates why leaders should put happiness first – for themselves, their employees, their customers, and the wider world – and why happy leaders are more successful.

It’s been very well received already. Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40 Company, said “Every leader should read it. That type of leadership has been integral to our success and I know it will boost your results too.” Henry Stewart, the CEO of Happy said “This is a book that the world needs. It will move you. It will excite you. It will inspire you. And it could well change your life.”

The initial reviews on Amazon are VERY positive too:

You can read more about the book on its website at www.leadingwithhappiness.com and you can buy it on Amazon as a Kindle e-book or as a paperback.