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How to be Happy (at work)

September 21, 2020
Shaun Williams

The great American author Mark Twain famously wrote “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Although this might seem a bit of a stretch, the truth is that we all spend an awful lot of our lives working, so it is important to be happy at work. This week is International Week of Happiness at Work and at Lime we are always interested in learning more about what helps people live happier and healthier lives, so what’s the story with happiness at work? Does it really matter?  

The short answer is, yes. Mark Twain’s point is a good one. If you love what you do, it won’t feel like “work”. Obviously finding a job you enjoy doing is a good starting point for happiness at work but it isn’t the only factor. Does your job make you feel fulfilled? Are you respected in your workplace? Do you like your colleagues? Are you offered opportunities for progression? Does your job give you a sense of purpose? Do you have a healthy work-life balance? And of course, are you paid fairly? These are all factors that have a real impact on the way we feel at work and about work which in turn can have a real impact on our health and well-being.

Feeling happy at work sounds great, but there are actually a multitude of benefits. Research indicates that having higher subjective well-being levels (i.e. happiness) impacts positively upon a worker’s health, absenteeism, self-regulation, motivation, creativity, relationships and staff turnover (i.e. they will stay longer in a job).

There are benefits for employers too! A study by the University of Warwick into the impact of happiness on productivity, found that happier employees are on average 12% more productive while unhappy employees are 10% less productive.  

So what’s the key to being happy at work? Experts at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley have tackled this question and come up with four key pillars of happiness at work: Purpose, Engagement, Resilience and Kindness (PERK). It’s worth reading the full story on their website by following the link above, but here is a short summary:

Here at Lime, we are a pretty happy bunch but there is always more we can do to help ourselves and our colleagues feel fulfilled and happy at work and we’re going to be thinking about that now. This week is a great opportunity to take stock and consider how you feel at work, and what you could change to feel happier. It might just make more of a difference than you expect.

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