How to create a workplace where everyone thrives

August is #HappinessHappensMonth and in these uncertain times a little happiness boost is exactly what we all need. Happiness is a powerful tool in business productivity, so throughout the month we’ll be sharing our creative marketing agency’s words of wisdom to help you enjoy happiness highs that you can share with your whole business.

Here at OTB Agency we’ve mastered the art of understanding emotions to help our clients achieve more from their marketing spend. Knowing how powerful emotions are, we’ve also spent time understanding the role of emotions – especially happiness – in our workplace.

As you’ll see in our last blog, driving happiness in business has the ability to inspire better creativity and innovation, increased productivity, and longer loyalty – and they’re just the tip of the benefits iceberg! We touched on the PERK pillars of happiness at work, but there are alternative theories about how to build happiness in the workplace, so in this article we deep-dive into the theory proposed by the ‘founder of Positive Psychology’. This theory is championed by our sister company, think, and one that naturally flows into the everyday here at our creative marketing agency.

Positive Psychology and PERMA

Business leaders are increasingly acknowledging how important psychological techniques are in driving productivity, profit and positivity in the workplace. It’s no coincidence that the happiest workplaces are hugely successful global brands, including HubSpot, Netflix, and Google. When you read into their cultures, they’re about empowering their people, championing achievement, and zigging when other companies zag. These principles are all rooted in psychological techniques, such as Professor Martin Seligman’s PERMA model.

Over the last 15 years, Seligman has developed a model which sets out the ‘active ingredients’ needed for workplace well-being, known as PERMA:

PERMA theory of happiness by Dr Seligman

Encouraging positive emotions at work

Positive emotions are the enjoyment and satisfaction we get from intellectual stimulation and creativity, such as when we work hard to complete a task or accomplish a new skill. Some workplaces boost positive emotions by starting meetings with thanks to a colleague for their help – such as “My appreciation is for Sarah. Last week she stayed back to show me how to complete my spreadsheets and since then I’ve been finishing on time.”

How to drive team engagement

It sounds simple: the “formula for building staff engagement is to maximize the extent to which people are using and applying their strengths”, however many of us don’t know our own strengths. There are management tools available to uncover them or you can encourage strength sharing in meetings where you give colleagues the opportunity to tell everyone about their latest big or small achievement. If you manage a team, you can then adapt your strategy to play to people’s strengths in innovative ways and boost their happiness – and the positive impact on the whole company.

Building workplace relationships

We are social animals who thrive on connections with other humans – be they family, friends or co-workers. In difficult times we gain resilience and support from our relationships; in good times we mirror the emotions of our co-workers – happiness is contagious. So getting to know your team members through eating lunch together, nights out, team building days or sharing facts about our hobbies or home life all strengthen relationships.

Be aware though, that one unhappy person can be very damaging to morale, so managers can seek out positively-dispositioned co-workers and place them strategically in less positive teams.

Creating meaning for your team

When we have purpose or share a sense of purpose as a team, we find job satisfaction. You can create meaning for your team members by setting measurable goals and regularly spelling out their real-world impact. If it’s possible, you will have most impact by allowing them to meet the customer or end user they are helping.

Achieving accomplishments

To help your team thrive and derive happiness from working, you can again set realistic goals which support the company. These are most effective when they are measurable and tied to the team member’s individual strengths, so that you can explore together innovative ways of tapping into the areas where they excel.

Whether you’re a team member, manager, or CEO, you will probably find that you are already using some of these five keys to workplace happiness. Now that you know how important these small day-to-day mind-shifts are to the individual, the team and the company, you can implement more PERMA techniques and feel even happier about doing so.

To find out more about how OTB Agency can help you understand the emotions at play in the workplace and apply it to your business, email jo.waddington@otbagency.co.uk

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