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Given the amount of time we spend at work and the importance of happiness to your wellbeing, consider taking action to positively impact the amount of happiness you and your coworkers experience at work.
What Is Happiness at Work?
Happiness at work is an overall sense that we enjoy our time, feel personally driven, and know that what we do matters—at work.
Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley (GGSC) identified four key pillars that support happiness at work and provide a framework that guides our approach to happiness at work.
The four key pillars are:
- Purpose: knowing that what you do matters to you, your organization, and the world
- Engagement: showing up and applying yourself in a sincere and dedicated way that ultimately leaves you feeling fulfilled by your work
- Resilience: being able to bounce back from difficult moments in healthy and constructive ways
- Kindness: forming strong, supportive connections at work
The PERK framework provides a roadmap for building skills and implementing strategies for more happiness at work.
What Problems at Work Does Happiness Solve?
Science shows that when we cultivate happiness, it helps us handle stress better.
When people feel engaged and enthusiastic at work, they’re less likely to be absent, report intentions to change jobs, feel emotionally exhausted, and engage in behaviors at work that undermine other people’s performance.
What Are the Main Advantages of Happiness at Work?
People who are happier at work are more creative, perform better, and are more productive. More happiness at work is also tied to a greater sense of balance between work and life.
According to Sonja Lyubomirsky’s seminal research, happiness at work predicts more career success and professional growth, and happier individuals go on years later to have higher incomes.
Being happier at work is also tied to easier, more effective collaboration and teamwork. People tend to reach more agreements and close more deals with happier people, and they have a greater willingness to engage in future interactions with them.
Happiness Practices to Increase PERK
Try these practices to increase your own happiness at work:
- Three Funny Things at Work: many of us spend our days doing serious work on serious matters and having serious conversations. Taking some time to reflect on the silly could help you reclaim some playful lightheartedness in your work life.
- Three Small Wins at Work: at work, it is easy to focus on all we have yet to do, and overlook the progress we made that day. As a result, we miss the opportunity to feel good about our progress and accomplishments.
- Mindfulness at Work: Stress, conflict, and anxiety can impair not only our health but our judgment and skills of attention, making us less productive at work.
- Gaining Perspective at Work: gaining perspective on negative events, or “self-distancing,” is a practice that allows us to view our feelings and experiences from an outsider’s perspective.
Experiment with these practices to be happier with others at work through kindness, empathy and compassion, and gratitude.
- Gratitude Challenge: it’s easy to take the good things and people in our lives and at work for granted, but research suggests that consciously giving thanks for them can have profound effects on our well-being and relationships.
- Random Acts of Kindness at Work: in addition to making yourself and others happier at work, acts of kindness create positive interactions between colleagues and can lead to the development of workplace friendships.
Read the instructions for each practice and give one or more a try.
Take Charge of Your Happiness at Work
Our fast-paced world challenges us to pause and consider what’s most important to us and how to show up as our best selves. Having greater purpose, engagement, resilience, and kindness at work positively impact many health, relationship, and business outcomes. Everyone wins when we are personally happier and able to help others and organizations reap the benefits of happiness.
This article is adapted from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, a non-profit dedicated to exploring the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life.