Why a happy workplace matter

No matter how much you love your job, even if you’re the boss, there will be moments when you wish you could just clock out early and escape the day’s worries.  

“It’s unrealistic to believe it’s possible to love every minute of your working day,” Change Meridian founder Michelle Gibbings told MPA. “There’s always something that will come along, or someone will throw a curve ball, to unsettle the equilibrium.”

However, she added, those challenges become easier to manage when one is in a happy workplace as research, time and again, has shown that such workplaces lead to engaged employees who are more productive and more responsive to customer needs. 

Sadly, though, in its most recent study, Gallup, an analytics and advisory company that periodically assess levels of worker engagement across the world, found that only 15% of workers are engaged at work.

“Clearly, there’s some work to be done to create happier and more engaged employees,” Gibbings said.  

Facilitate happiness
According to Gibbings, leaders can’t force their staff to be happy – but their behaviour and way of treating people will go a long way to help create a happier workplace.

She suggests leaders start with these small things:

  1. Be friendly and greet people when you come in to work in the morning.  A simple “hello” can go a long way – and it only takes a few seconds.

  2. Take an interest in the people you work with at a personal level. Find out what matters to them. Ask them about their interests, family, and the events they consider important.

  3. Whether you work in an open-plan or a conventional office, take some time to regularly wander the floor to check in on how your people are doing.

  4. On occasion, instead of sending a request by email, make the request in person. There are times when doing this accomplishes a task faster. 

  5. Respond to all emails and phone calls. If time doesn’t permit that, have someone in your team respond on your behalf. When you neglect someone’s request for help or advice you are setting the standard that it’s okay to ignore co-workers who need something important.

  6. Don’t cancel one-on-one meetings. There are instances when you need to change a meeting to direct reporting – however, regularly doing so will make your team members feel under-valued, and that could add to their stress levels.

  7. Be polite and appreciate the efforts of others. It doesn’t take much to say “please” and “thank you,” yet, even with email, it can often be forgotten.

  8. Pay attention and focus when a team member or colleague is speaking to you. Give them your undivided attention and don’t answer phone calls or respond to emails during the conversation.

  9. Pick up the phone and say, “thank you” and “well done” to people in your team who are contributing. This will show them that you notice what they do and that their efforts matter.

Michelle Gibbings is the author of Career Leap and founder of consultancy Change Meridian. She works with leaders, teams and organisations to accelerate their progress and to make them ready for the future of work.