Whether we want to or not, we all bring our work home with us. If we’re unhappy in our work, then we’re likely to bring that negativity into our home life, while if we’re happy then that is likely to be felt by our friends and loved ones. This point was reinforced for us recently at Accent when one of our long-serving site-managers arrived home one day to find his son dressed in hard hat and high vis, saying he wanted to be like his Dad. Being happy in his work, our site manager brought that positivity home and saw it reflected in the smile of his son. This led us to reflect on what it was that made people happy at work, which resulted in the subject of this month’s article: the four elements of a happy workplace.
Trust is a vital ingredient of workplace happiness. Trust, and mistrust are contagious. An atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion in the workplace leads individuals to become insecure in their work and in their worth as an employee. If, on the other hand, the senior management of a company fosters an atmosphere of trust, where employees are treated like adults and given the freedom to make professional decisions related to their work, then that feeling will be replicated in relationships throughout the company, will lead to increased productivity and to an overall feeling of well-being.
Next to trust is flexibility. Technology has made it possible for an increasing number of employees to work remotely, and you should provide this option to your staff if it fits with their personal needs and the needs of the company. It may not feasible for all or any of your employees to work remotely, but where possible, offering this option provides a sense of freedom to the employee, particularly if they have a family of other commitments to balance with work. You can even support them in this endeavour by making sure that they have the requisite technology in place to carry out their tasks remotely.
Another great way to ensure employee happiness through flexibility is by implementing flexi-time. Flexi-time allows employees to work the hours that are most convenient to them, providing they do their required hours one way or another. Again, this can be really helpful for employees with families, and also for people who like to go to the gym before, during or after work.
As our working lives become increasingly sedentary, comfort plays an important role in workplace happiness. Many of us are sat at a desk for eight hours plus a day, and many of us also know that this can lead to worrisome muscle strains and pains if our posture at a workstation isn’t correct. As an employer, you can do your best to ensure that your staff are comfortable by investing in ergonomically designed office furniture and workstations. This will not only ensure that your staff are as comfortable as possible at work, but will reinforce that you, as their employer, have their health, happiness and best interests at heart.
The last, and perhaps most important, element of workplace happiness is natural light. Numerous studies in recent years have proven how important natural light is to our happiness, in the workplace or elsewhere. When deprived of natural light, the soothing chemical in our brain serotonin declines, leading to mood changes and sometimes to depression. When provided with ample natural light, however, serotonin increases, improves our mood and generally makes us feel happier. A recent study on natural light in the workplace found that 35% of employees considered the absence of natural light as their primary concern associated with their workplace environments, which leads to feelings of isolation, tension and claustrophobia.
In the workplace environments, it is crucial that you allow for enough natural light to avoid your employees becoming down, or feeling cut off from the natural world. You can do this by allowing employees to relocate to positions in the office which allow for the most natural light. If this isn’t possible, it may be worth considering redesigning or refurbishing your office. This is no small undertaking, but if you are committed to the happiness of your employees, it may be one you have to consider.
If you have any questions about redesigning your office, then please get in touch with the team at Accent on 08456 595911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be more than happy to help!