Burnout. Stress. Isolation. Pressure. Yep! That’s where most people are today, whether they know it or not. Life comes with challenges, lots of challenges, but we’ve all lived through more than two years of a global pandemic. We’ve had continual uncertainty, that forced us into a hunkered-down-survival-mode mentality, affecting each of us in our own way.
So why do we think rediscovering joy at work matters? Because we all need it, now, more than ever!
Sigmund Freud once said that work and love are the cornerstones of being human. Additionally, research shows that there are three fundamental human needs that must be satisfied for us to function well and be healthy psychologically. These needs include: autonomy (the need to have choice over our behavior and actions), mastery (the need to feel competent) and relatedness (the need to feel connected to and cared about by others). These scholars are all pointing to the significant impact that work plays on how happy we are overall, and its relation to our well-being, cognitive functioning, and performance at work.
Learning to rediscover joy and happiness at work can seem like a tall order, but we want you to prioritize this to protect your well-being, and to be a better employee. Happy people are less likely to be disgruntled, are more productive at work, and feel connected to those around them – creating better teams and better workplace cultures.
Start with the five tips below from SHRM to rediscover happiness and joy at work, and learn more in this article on ways to apply these practices to your daily life. We will all get through difficult times, by finding ways to support and nurture ourselves and others.
1. Know that life is difficult and challenges are to be expected.
Letting go of expectations about an easy and perfect life and accepting the inevitability of change and difficult situations can help us to be resilient when things go wrong.
2. Expect to have negative experiences and emotions and accept them.
Being happy all the time, just isn’t possible. If you’ve taken one of our trainings, you’ve probably heard us say “Get comfortable being uncomfortable” – this is a great reminder when going through negative experiences and emotions.
3. Stop arguing with reality.
If something is a fact, fighting or resisting it is simply a waste of time and energy. Far better to accept the facts and move on.
4. Adopt a positive outlook.
Our attention is like a spotlight – its beam illuminates whatever we focus on and that becomes our reality; therefore, we should focus on the positives.
5. Don’t buy into everything that pops into your head.
Happier people are those who can look at their own thoughts from a distance and observe their emotions without being carried away by the “what-ifs” in their heads.
Prioritizing Joy Within Your Team
As stated in a Harvard Business Review Article, “In any team environment, joy arises from a combination of harmony, impact, and acknowledgment” — all of which leaders and team members can cultivate at work.
- Harmony. On high-performing teams, diverse skills and strengths of each teammate help to build cohesiveness and connection amongst its members.
- Impact. Team harmony leads to impact, which further fuels joy. Even if the result is just a small win, it feels good to experience positive results together.
- Acknowledgment. Acknowledging each team member’s contributions and cheering for each other powers the “joy-success-joy” cycle.
Now that we know the components of joy at work, here are some specific steps to help you increase it within your team:
- Set the agenda. Make the experience of joy an explicit team purpose. Work to ensure all employees feel heard, recognized, and valued.
- Set the Stage. Staff your company or organization with true cross-unit, cross-silo teams, where joint teamwork delivers maximum impact, shared success, and fun.
- Set the Tone. Encourage and celebrate individual and team impact efforts. Authentically express more of the joy you personally experience in your role. Remember the line from the movie, “Remember the Titans” – “…attitude reflects leadership,”? Well the same goes for joy – share it and watch as others start to do the same.
Learn to be a team that is dedicated to the human experience of harmony, impact, and acknowledgment, also known as joy, to build this culture at work. For more ways to Find Happiness, watch our video below.