The 7 Best Kept Secrets About Happiness in the Workplace

Did you know that happy employees are more productive, creative and loyal? Here are 7 secrets to increase happiness it the workplace! Shh…

Team Building
Employee Experience
Company Culture

Catherine Dulude

Corporate Coach and Business Happiness Consultant

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Why should we be preoccupied with our employee’s happiness in the workplace? Aren’t there more important matters to take care of – like sales, marketing, finance and operations? The answer is rather simple: all of the above are optimized if (and only if!) the employees occupying these functions are happy in the accomplishment of their work.

Therefore, here are the secrets to ensure happiness in the workplace in your business!

Secret #1: Happiness in the Workplace is a Subjective Perception

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest advantages of today’s economy is that we are supported by committed and positive employees, given that happy employees are more highly productive, more creative and, above all, more loyal.

For many, happiness in the workplace is closely related to the development of engaging activities, or is linked to the idea of deriving pleasure from work. Though these aspects are indeed essential to employees’ well being, I personally believe that true satisfaction lies in something more personal and, hence, different for each individual. Still, the basic idea is that happiness is a choice!

Employee X and employee Y could both live the exact same day, but for one it would be a wonderful experience and for the other, hell on earth. What could explain this discrepancy? The fact that this judgment is a question of perception.

Though it is challenging to change the world around us, it is comparatively easy to transform the way we interpret it.

Secret #2: Help Your Employees Cultivate It

If you are of a mind to encourage your employees to cultivate happiness in the workplace, the first step is for them to choose that path (secret #1!) and then you may assist them in altering their perception.

Trainingmentoring and coaching are in fact excellent tools to reach those goals;

  • Share your own vision or that of other workers;
  • Request that employees try walking a mile (or a kilometre!) in the shoes of another person;
  • Benefit from the assistance of your most positive leaders to share their views;
  • Ask questions that could bring forth a paradigm shift:
    • “What makes you unhappy?”
    • “What can you do to better this situation?”
    • “What if you looked at it from another angle?”
    • “What positive elements can you take away from this?”

Secret #3: It is not an Option to Accomplish Goals

Who has never heard it be said, “I will finally be happy when I get the promotion that I want! I will be happy with another manager! I will be happy when my skills are justly recognized!”

In reality, happiness is not connected to some ultimate goal; it does not depend on other people and is not delivered by a third party.

For this very reason, it is important to aid employees in regaining control of their happiness while working toward eliminating the elements that may prevent them from being able to recognize this state of contentment.

A few questions to ask to kick start the thought process:

  • “What do you have to gain from the current conditions?”
  • “What could you do to better the situation?”
  • “What would you have to gain or lose with feelings of hate? Of jealousy? Of resentment?”
  • “How could you potentially transform the above into positive attitudes?”

Secret #4: Cultivate Optimism to Heighten Happiness in the Workplace

It is easier for some than for others, depending on personality and the degrees of trust or skepticism that one shows when it comes to others, work or life in general. However, it is possible to train oneself to be more optimistic and with time, it becomes much easier – even automatic. The important part is taking the first step!

Ask your employees to find 3 positive aspects for each negative aspect that they name; there is always something to be gained from difficult situations, but some training and effort may be necessary to be able to perceive it.

The ability to see positive in others and to understand the positive intention behind others’ actions (while avoiding interpreting them as a personal affront) often allows you to disarm a situation where conflict could be brewing. It is also a key element for good leadership; if you want to help an employee reach his or her full potential, you must be able to rely on his or her strengths.

Secret #5: Happiness at Work Happens Right Now

If your employees fantasize about a rosy future yet do not stop to think of what they could do right now in order to reach it, the chances are slim that this dream would come true anytime soon.

When a worker bases himself on the past to justify their unhappiness, try to make them see what can be done today to remedy the situation. The only thing that we have any power over is the present moment, and only through the present can we influence the future!

Secret #6: Concentrate On Others’ Happiness

Would you enjoy receiving compliments for you work as a manager? Then compliment others! You want to gain others’ trust? Then grant them yours! Want respect? Don’t hesitate to offer it first.

In order to encourage happiness at work, you can organize activities oriented on altruism, or even select altruism, as one of the core values transmitted through your corporate culture and in your employees’ performance review.

The moral of the story: When your employees are not happy, encourage them to give back… and give back to them too, while you’re at it!

Secret #7: Sit Your Employees in the Right Chair

And I don’t (only) mean a comfortable and ergonomic chair to improve posture!

A worker will be happier at a job that allows him to rely on his natural talents in order to accomplish his tasks more easily and with greater motivation.

Going against what nature gave you requires too much energy and effort and, in the end, will result in weariness and stress. The main idea is to avoid asking your employees to swim against the current so as to avert exhaustion and drowning.

It is so much easier to live in the present moment, making the right choices, and cultivating selflessness all the while being optimistic and relaxed and in so doing… to be sitting in the right chair!

The economic reasons that justify happiness in the workplace are rather simple, while still being built on solid facts. In order to develop happiness in your organization, it is necessary to help employees look at things differently but also to give them the level of responsibility and tasks that allow them to rely on their natural abilities. Now that you are armed with these 7 samples of arcane knowledge, are you ready to begin the evaluation of the natural strengths of your employees?

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