Why Shouldn’t “Happy Hour” Be All Day Long?

In today’s fast moving world, most people focus on the problems they are having instead of looking at all the positive things surrounding them. In Shawn Anchor’s informative and quite humorous Ted Talk, The Happy Secret To Better Work, he discusses how taking a different outlook on the things going on around you and seeing them in a positive light can increase productivity and creativeness not only within your personal life but at work as well.

“[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”- Shawn Anchor.

Many times in the business world, we tend to look at the problems we face instead of the achievements we have reached. We think of happiness in terms of our successes instead of attributing general happiness to producing those successes.

So if happiness can increase overall productivity and creativeness within the workplace, how do you make your employees happier? Sure you can give them a nice bonus check, or a day off, but I believe true happiness at a company stems from the overall company culture. First off, create an environment that focuses on positive things going on. Don’t start the day off talking about something that failed. Starting on a bad note could set the tone for the whole day. Focusing on positive accomplishments will make employees want to be there and continue to produce great work. Of course, in every business there are roadblocks and problems that arise, but by training employees to think more positively in the first place, there will be less negativity when a problem does occur. Also, providing a fun environment where people are happy to spend time and allowing for open communication around the office will keep employees happy and wanting to come to work everyday.

Google sets a great example for company culture. Not only do they have great facilities (The Goggleplex for example) but they offer a creative and fun environment to stimulate productivity and creativity. Google’s 20% time is a program that allows employees to spend about eight hours a week to work on new projects that could benefit the company. Although similar programs have been in existences for some time, Google’s uniquely permissive company culture has allowed this employment benefit to become a huge success. Former and current Google employees often speak highly of this somewhat-unofficial program, with numerous sources naming beloved programs like Gmail as having been born during this “free” time. By providing this time, employees are able focus on things they are interested in, which makes them feel appreciated and creates a more positive outlook on their job.

Overall, if you want long-term success, make sure you start with happy employees. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”-Audrey Hepburn

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