Happiness At Work Week: Ways To Increase Staff Contentment

Philip Cleave
September 15, 2023
Happy member of staff working remotely

Everyone wants to be happier in the workplace. And there’s lots of reasons why building a positive culture and putting the right processes in place to create a happier workforce is good for employers too.

  • Contented employees are 12% more productive than their unhappier counterparts
  • Companies with a happy workforce outperform their competitors by up to 20%
  • 77% of adults would check an organisation’s culture before applying for a job there

Given these statistics, it’s easy to see how nurturing a happier work environment is good for existing staff, as well as attracting new employees. Yet, despite these incentives and the many further benefits that can be gained by increasing staff happiness, contentment at work is still the exception, rather than the rule.

That’s why initiatives such as the forthcoming International Week of Happiness at Work are really helpful in promoting this issue and suggesting ways that employers can work with staff to increase levels of contentment.

What is the International Week of Happiness at Work?

Happiness at Work Week is an annual event. Held during the last full week of September, it looks to raise awareness of the issues around work contentment, get organisations together and suggest a raft of actions and activities to help improve employee happiness.

The initiative was created with the belief that happier employees will be more involved, more productive, more cooperative, more creative and more innovative, while being less likely to call in sick and experience burnout.

Consequently, the people behind the International Week of Happiness at Work, are working to make happiness at work the norm, rather than the exception.

Why is happiness so important to work?

To answer this, we need to briefly consider the psychology behind this.

Essentially emotions are part of the human mind and what we experience daily, and they can influence our behaviour and affect other people around us. So, if we can nurture positive emotions through more positive and virtuous practices this can help promote greater creativity, well-being, bonding and productivity. This contrasts with too much negativity in the workplace, which can hinder creativity, communication, mental health and output, leading to increased absenteeism and turnover.

How to measure how your staff are feeling

So, how can you gauge how your employees are feeling and then takes steps to improve their contentment in the workplace?

Traditionally, when most of us worked in the same office together, this was simpler to do, as we could talk to our staff directly and observe their body language and their gestures.

However, while many staff may not want to talk to their boss directly about how they feel, and the checking in process has been further complicated by the fact that many of us are now working remotely or under a hybrid working arrangement.

Subsequently, the growing use of workplace surveys, has become an even more important tool that managers and HR teams can use to get this feedback. And it’s particularly effective when they’re created using the anonymous surveys feature, which helps increase the response rate and volume of honest comments that you’re likely to get back.

Typically, when people think of surveys for measuring employee contentment, they think of the staff satisfaction survey. Although, this is a good starting point, an even better way to get under the skin of how happy your employees would be to send them an employee wellbeing survey. The reason why is that through its questions it tries to uncover the underlying physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of staff, which can all impact their levels of happiness.

Questions to ask your staff

When it comes to survey questions to ask your employees, there are a number of questions that can give you a good initial feel for how happy they are.

These include:

  1. How well do you feel your job performance is recognised and appreciated by your manager and colleagues?
  • Very well
  • Somewhat well
  • Neutral
  • Not very well
  • Not at all well

  1. How supportive is your manager and the leadership team in your job?
  • Very supportive
  • Somewhat supportive
  • Neutral
  • Not very supportive
  • Not at all supportive

  1. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is not at all and 10 is very much, how much do you feel your job allows for personal and professional growth?
  1. Describe our culture in fewer than 20 words
  1. Overall, how would you rate your physical health?
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Moderate
  • Poor
  • Very poor

  1. Overall, how would you rate your mental health?
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Moderate
  • Poor
  • Very poor

These are just a sample selection of the types of questions you might want to ask. For more ideas might like to visit our Employee Survey Templates page, where you can currently find more than 35 templates of survey questions across 35 different areas to do with employees.

Activities to start considering during Happiness at Work Week

Having used surveys to get a better feel for levels of happiness among your workforce, you’ll want to think about what more you can do at a companywide level to increase contentment and wellness among your staff. And what better way to kickstart some of these activities, than during the International Week of Happiness at Work.

Here’s some practical ideas to think about:

Run a gratitude programme

If you’re looking to generate a more positive workplace environment, launching a staff recognition or gratitude programme can be a really effective way of achieving this, especially if this is a regular activity.

Besides helping to improve day-to-day morale, such frequent and thoughtful recognition can increase levels of staff engagement.

Promoting staff wellness

As a general rule, those who exercise on their workdays tend to be happier, more productive and less stressed than those who don’t. So, it can help if you take steps to encourage greater physical activity among your workforce.

This doesn't have to mean going all out to build an on-site gym. It could be as simple as educating and supporting a healthy and wellness attitude amongst teams. This could include encouraging walks on lunch breaks and offering discounts on wellness products and gym membership.

Encouraging social activity

Social events related to the workplace, whether that’s activities set up by the company itself or the employees, can also have a significant impact in boosting happiness through closer ties and friendships at work.

In fact, 57% of employees say that having a best friend at work makes their job more enjoyable. This not only helps improve general happiness but also boosts innovation and efficiency and inspires more creativity.

Managers leading by example

More often than not a happy boss with a smile on their face leads to happier employees.

The importance of leading by example in this way cannot be overstated, as positivity is contagious. So, if the leaders in an office are happy and creating positive energy, then this is likely to reflect well on the rest of the team and give everybody else a boost.

Employ positive messaging

It’s also important not to underestimate the power of words, as the way we communicate and express ourselves can have a major impact on how others perceive us.

The words that employers choose to use in the workplace plays a massive role in the happiness of the rest of the team. So, it’s important to ensure these are more positive than negative.

Using positive messaging essentially involves using communication and words that help bring out positive interactions. The best approach to take when speaking to staff is to be passionate, personal, encouraging and empowering.

Employee benefits

From your paid leave allowance and paid sick leave to private healthcare, life insurance and more.

While employee benefits might sound obvious, keeping an eye out to see what others are offering in terms of benefits packages, can ensure yours is attractive and competitive, and keeps your staff happy.

Create a clearer pathway

Many employees can end up leaving a company sooner than expected, if they believe there’s no real opportunities for them to progress.

So how can your business help prevent this?

Offering developmental support including career mentoring and training opportunities can not only improve employee satisfaction and happiness but keep them engaged and involved with your business too. However, you need to make sure they’re aware of the many different job opportunities and career paths that are available within your company.

Greater flexibility in working arrangements

Given the wide-ranging lives that employees have outside of work these days, they typically have a wide range of different obligations and commitments to work around. So, much so that a growing number of employers are exploring more flexible work arrangements for their staff, not only in recognition of this but to increase happiness levels due to the flexibility and respect they’re receiving from their workplace.

Some great examples include, allowing employees to choose their start and finish time, work from home and for some the potential to compress their workweek into four days.

Never a better time to start improving staff contentment

Having read this blog, we hope that you recognise the value of increasing workplace happiness and are clearer about what measures you can put in place to make this happen. And if you haven’t already got a plan in place, now’s the time to do so.

The good thing is that you can use the feedback from surveys, to measure where you currently are with staff happiness and identify areas where you might be able to improve. You can then use workshops and meetings to generate greater awareness of this issue and get some activities in place to start making some positive changes. There’s never been a better time to get started.

Positive employee experiences can drive greater workplace contentment too

While ongoing survey feedback and the right workplace activities can help you to improve staff happiness, delivering more positive employee experiences can help too. Yet, you’ll only be able to achieve the best results if you’re using the right survey tools.

Find out more

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.