Happiness at Work is Linked to Success

Lasting positive change is apparently simple, just repeat the following habits for 21 days;

  • 3 Gratitudes
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random Acts of Kindness

(Go to 11.05 on the video, Shawn Achor cites the research supporting this).

The last item on the list inspired a bunch of students to share biscuits with classmates stuck studying in the McGregor (no relation) Reading Room at the University of Virginia. If you’re looking for ideas for Random Acts of Kindness, there’s a whole website on the subject.

The idea of happiness as a work outcome is an easy target for the cynics, but the research is there, and it’s not a new idea; Alexander Kjerulf wrote a book “Happy Hour is 9 to 5”  first published in 2007 which talks about the connection between happiness, motivation and success.  It’s perhaps not surprising that he comes from Denmark recently assessed as the world’s happiest country in a UN report.

A fact that the national brewer was quick to adopt for an advertisement in Copenhagen’s airport. Fair enough, I did find their product an agent to feeling happy when I was there last week.

Be Happy at Work

Some days it seems like a tall order; with competing priorities, looming deadlines and demanding emails.

How can we be happy at work? And how can we help those we work with be happier?
Apparently it’s easy – in six easy steps according to a new book “Happy Hour is 9 to 5” by Alexander Kjerulf.

  1. Be positive
  2. Learn
  3. Be open
  4. Participate
  5. Find meaning
  6. Love

He goes into some detail explaining the behaviours that match each.

He points out that these six things come from us, not from the company or the boss, and that we can all use them to change our own workplaces. There is a caveat with that, the company needs to allow this – if not we might have to change where we work.

It sounds deceptively simple, but it matches research by Harvard who came up with 7 ways to be happy at work, first on their list is “smile”. Their second is “stop worrying which maps to “be positive”, and their list ends with “have fun”.

Kjerulf’s book finishes with advice to make an action plan, but as you might expect this isn’t a standard action plan. He’s noted the same difficulties with ambitious goals that I have and his action plan is a list of 5 actions you can accomplish in the coming week. Each action must be fast, easy and fun.

So next in the coming week I will

  • Go somewhere cool with one of the project managers in my team for our “future” brainstorming.
  • Take in home-made biscuits or muffins to the office
  • Praise someone outside my team
  • Sit with a different team for half a day (we have flexible work spots so this is possible)
  • Say “yes” to a crazy idea that takes me out of my comfort zone

I’m already more interested in that than my regular “to do” list!

NOTE: You can buy a physical copy, purchase a pdf version or read “Happy Hour is 9 to 5” for free online.

image happy via pixabay