This week marks International Week of Happiness at Work, an initiative that sets out to highlight just how important it is for employees to have a happy work life. It goes without saying that employees are the most important asset of a business, and so their happiness and wellbeing should be the biggest priority of the organisation. With this in mind, five experts have shared their thoughts and suggestions with Employer News as to how companies can ensure they keep their employees’ happiness and wellbeing at the front and centre of their ethos.
Raise awareness about mental health
These days, the stigma around mental health is beginning to wane, and so it’s important that organisations take their employees’ mental health seriously. However, as Liam Butler, Area Vice President at SumTotal comments, “despite increased focus and efforts, we are still a long way from regarding or treating mental and physiological health as the same. We need to help to reduce the secrecy and stigma surrounding mental health issues, encourage employees to step forward if they are having mental health problems and make employers reconsider their own attitudes to mental health related illnesses.
“Organisations should take note of forward thinking attitudes and put in place their own policies and training to support suffering employees, as well as raise mental health awareness. Ultimately, mental health needs to be brought out of the shadows and into the spotlight of the boardroom, so that executives can ensure their employees have access to the resources and support they need.”
Ketna Makwana, HR Manager at Node4 also agrees with this, stating that,
“your employees are the most important asset of your business. For that reason, in order to keep your organisation successful, employee happiness should be a top priority. In fact, one study even showed that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.”
Ketna’s suggestion for organisations lies in ‘rewarding and recognising employees for the hard work they do’, as she believes it is one of the best ways to improve employee happiness’.
“This can be done through implementing reward and award schemes for outstanding and long-term employees to show they are valued. Companies should also look to promote a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically for their employees at work. For example, offering a confidential support tool open 24/7 to all employees, Mental Health First Aiders for continual mental health support, or introducing a wellbeing centre to encourage a healthier lifestyle across the business. This in turn helps to ensure an employee’s working life benefits their personal life in more ways than simply financially.”
Additionally, Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting argues,
“It’s easy for employers to claim that they are creating a healthy office environment, but it takes actual commitment and investment to make a real difference. For example, at Hyve, we want to ensure that health and happiness amongst our employees is part of the everyday, not just a one-off every few months, so we have made creating the healthiest office environment in the region a key business objective.
“Businesses need to understand that happiness at work is more than just skin-deep, and should invest in solutions and rewards that will positively impact their team in the long-run, as well as the short-run. It is a great step in the right direction to have things such as flexible working hours, or a chill-out area complete with ping-pong tables and barbeques to make lunch hours more fun. But, it is also important to recognise that health and mindfulness are key contenders feeding into happiness at work. At Hyve, we have regular yoga classes, a bike-to-work scheme and free healthy lunches to promote this. Following a trial earlier this year, we have also invested in ergonomic furniture, including standing desks and adjustable monitor arms, which are designed to help make the work we do less straining on the team.
“This International Week of Happiness at Work should serve as a reminder to businesses across the world, that there are simple and effective steps they can and should make to improve their employees wellbeing and happiness.”
Strive for 100% employee satisfaction
There are different ways that organisations can promote employee satisfaction. As Kleopatra Kivrakidou, Channel Marketing Manager EMEA at Ergotron comments:
“The International Week of Happiness at Work should act as the perfect reminder to organisations across the globe of the vital importance of employee satisfaction and what that means for businesses as a whole. The focus should not only be on creating fun reward schemes and employee benefits outside of working hours, but also on making those working hours more productive, comfortable, and flexible.
“Initiatives that promote movement in the workplace are a sure-fire way of helping staff-members feel more happy and healthy. Many companies are now investing in products and solutions that can be tailored to individuals’ needs – for example, ergonomic office furniture or work-from-home schemes – all of which can make a huge difference to productivity. Other factors like a change of scene in the workplace, or simply standing up to work rather than sitting down, are extremely beneficial for workers, helping to promote good physical and mental health. After all, humans are not designed to remain static all day. Give your employees the chance to be more flexible, more productive, and they’ll be happier as a result.”
Additionally, Jason Wells, VP and GM EMEA at Cradlepoint discusses the ways in which technology can also be adhered to align with employee satisfaction. He states,
“Digital transformation has brought on an astounding pace of change for businesses. When you consider the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and widespread 5G connectivity will have on businesses of all sizes, it’s easy to see organisations across all industries will have to move and evolve faster than ever before.
“The inability to keep up in these times no longer results in a penalty of lower sales for organisations, but a threat to their business. This puts a huge amount of pressure on employees within an organisation. When focusing on meeting digital transformation head-on, it can be easy then to overlook this central force of your business. The old adage that ‘people are our most important asset’ is completely true.
“As a business leader, one of the most important things you need to think about is supporting your team as you move through periods of significant transformation. A great leader influences their team and challenges them to go further, work harder, do better, and crucially – keep mentally fit. When this is done effectively, the whole company benefits.”
This International Week of Happiness at Work, why not take a step back and look at the employees you have working for you. What can you do to go that extra mile to encourage their happiness? As Jason concludes,
“true leadership goes far beyond the bottom line – it’s about inspiring passion and ensuring our teams are happy, healthy and ready to meet the challenges ahead.”