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5 Ways to Create a Happier Work Environment

Here are some easy ways to increase employee satisfaction and happiness.

Here are some easy ways to increase employee satisfaction and happiness.

As science continues to unravel the complexity of human psychology and behavior, researchers dial in on what creates the most effective employees. One thing we know for sure is that happy employees are great employees. Here are some ideas:

Greet Your People

Whether you're a manager, executive, or first-year staff, making an intentional effort to say hello can go a long way. Regularly greeted people report feeling they belong to a team, they are genuinely cared for, and that people they work with are happy to have them around. Not regularly greeted people are more likely to consider their workplace bland, full of passive aggression, and lack energy. As a leader, you should never underestimate the power of the most straightforward strategies.

Engage in Meaningful Conversations

When did you last speak to the person you helped hire a year ago? It is unrealistic to engage in deep conversations with everyone every day, week, or month, depending on your team's size. However, as a leader, it is incumbent upon you to be the party that reaches out to others to find time to chat. Occasionally it would help if you carved out time to speak meaningfully in a 1-on-1 environment with the people you work with. This creates a culture that promotes communication, and employees will be more likely to come to leaders when they have an issue. Alternatively, employees who feel they cannot speak to their leaders begin to resent them. In many cases, this leads to dissent among the team as the disgruntled employee expresses their concerns to others. The solution is simple: talk to your people.

Encourage Workplace Health

Studies suggest that healthier people are 20% happier, while people considered unhealthy are 8% less happy. Health is more of a driver of happiness than the individual's perceived wealth. While there are many controversies in health science, businesses can benefit much from focusing on areas of consensus. One area of agreement is around the need for exercise, and physical activity positively affects almost all facets of health. Though there is debate on what is a truly healthy diet, most experts agree that reducing sugar intake and other traditional junk food intake can have many benefits on short and long-term health. Make your company and team culture one that promotes intentional thought around health. You don't have to schedule a company marathon tomorrow, but consider the benefits of workplace yoga, company sports leagues, corporate nutritionists, and more.

Promote A Sense of Fulfillment

Every person in your organization should feel that their opinions contribute to the company vision. Individuals should feel like they have a real impact on the organization through their department, project teams, and individual tasks. Meetings held in smaller groups allow for brainstorming sessions that include everyone involved. As part of reporting on individual assignments, ask for process improvement suggestions, and encourage new ideas.

In addition to impacting the company's future, fulfilled people feel that they positively impact the world around them. Community service opportunities and pro bono services are ways to create a culture that supports the world around it.

Check Your Own Satisfaction Level

If you aren't happy, why is it fair to create an expectation that your team needs to be happier? Leadership happiness can often be a prerequisite for employee happiness in the workplace. Maybe you aren't connected to the company vision. Or maybe your manager is dealing with issues causing them unhappiness, affecting you and how you manage your people. These instances require a leader with a growth mindset to break the cycle and create a happier workspace.

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