I’ve been thinking about happiness at work recently. I dwell on this a lot actually. I dwell because I’m usually called upon to work with clients who are experiencing challenges. Projects are late, over budget, clients are beating up the AEs regularly (and the AEs are allowing it), and everyone is generally pissy.
So I recalled an article I read a few months back on economywatch.nbcnews.com about Ken Bernanke tracking happiness.
What? He’s tracking happiness? Maybe he should stick to tracking the economy, gifts to banks – and bankers, and well, I don’t have to tell you…
From the article:
"The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn't just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting "the enhancement of well-being."
So the article goes… "The Kingdom of Bhutan has been tracking happiness for four decades. The tiny Himalayan nation stopped tracking gross national product in 1972 and instead switched to measuring Gross National Happiness."
Just like out there in that big old world, when you get really local – like right there, in your office – there are measurements that must be taken and reviewed. It’s how you get the best out of everyone, eliminate (at least reduce) frustration, and just make it a better place to work.
The article goes on to say:
“Bernanke's own definition of happiness might baffle anyone without an advanced degree. He called it a "short-term state of awareness that depends on a person's perceptions of one's immediate reality, as well as on immediate external circumstances and outcomes."”
Which also in itself a caution: don’t make it complicated. Happiness at work is simple:
Do your employees feel they have some control over the processes and outcome? And if not, perhaps it’s time to fix that.
And maybe start with: is anyone happy?
Of course I had to add kids and puppies. It's so simple.