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Why Being Happy in the Workplace Matters

Feb 18, 2016 | The ONE Thing

Selfie business team taking pictures in the office. Their tongue

 

Why Being Happy in the Workplace Matters . . . Even When You’re Not Working

Last month we discussed the importance of having fun at work. So we thought, why not take a closer look this month at why happiness in the workplace matters outside of the office.

Given that full-time employees spend more than a third of their waking hours working (not including the commute time), it suffices to say that how we feel at work affects other areas of life. If it makes us happy it can create a positive impact that trickles down to a cellular level – literally.

Here’s a look at highlights from recent studies that prove making happiness your ONE Thing in the office can provide benefits that extend well beyond the workplace.

 

Happiness Makes You More Productive

Since 2010 numerous books and studies have been published that provide empirical evidence that shows “happy” employees are more productive. They tend to work more efficiently and think more creatively. They also approach problems in a constructive manner so that their issues are quickly solved.

Of course, this is a key point for employers, but being more productive in other areas of our lives is just as important. Around the house we have just as many tasks and juggle even more job roles. Making time for social activities and hobbies requires efficiency. Applying our happy work mindset to all other areas of life can make everything more manageable.

 

Happiness Begets Success in All Areas of Life

When we think of success, work immediately comes to mind. But it’s not confined to the workplace, and being successful in personal areas of life as a spouse or parent is arguably more important.

A 2005 American Psychological Association publication analyzes research that has linked success in all areas of life to happiness. It appears that one begets the other. People aren’t necessarily happy because they are successful. Oftentimes it is happiness that increases our odds of success. It’s quite possible that the positive mindset that increases productivity also helps us overcome challenges.

 

Happiness Makes You Healthier

It doesn’t take a research study from a national institute to know that happy people are less stressed. That automatically gives them an edge when it comes to health.

Studies conducted by psychology professor and social psychologist D.G. Myers have compared stressed, depressed employees to happy ones and found that content workers have lower medical costs. Health care is a cost shared by both the employer and the employee in most cases, meaning that happiness directly affects everyone’s finances.

The American Psychological Association research mentioned above also notes that happiness has a positive effect on healthy behavior, mental health, stress, coping and the immune system. Nothing is more important than our health. Without it we can’t be our best at work, home, in social settings or anywhere else.

 

Happiness Makes You a More Involved Citizen

Volunteering makes people happy, but even without that initial feel-good rush, happier people are more likely to give their time, money and energy to others. As psychologist Martin Seligman points out in his book Authentic Happiness, happy people are typically more altruistic.

Moreover, there are studies that show happy employees in particular are more likely to engage in citizenship behavior. Involvement in our community has been linked to work environment, which means the office can impact our inclination to volunteer. This in turn can have an effect on our overall happiness and wellbeing.

 

Happiness Makes You Kinder

There is also a cyclical effect between happiness and kindness. Two new studies have found that random acts of kindness and buying things for others instead of ourselves generates feelings of happiness. As the feeling of happiness increases a person is more likely to continue being kind.

Researchers are calling this a “positive feedback loop”. Even better – kindness is infectious. Seeing someone else perform an act of kindness or being the recipient of it will lead to moral elevation that encourages altruism. Science has now proven kindness makes the world is a better place, and happiness at work can play an important part.

 

Happiness Can Undo Negative Emotions

Disappointment, sorrow, pain – these negative emotions are an inescapable fact of life. We all deal with negative emotions in our own way, but research has shown that happiness can soften the blow. Being able to better manage the setbacks and stressors will definitely make life happier all around.

 

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