Let’s get something out of the way first. What was your response when you read the word ‘happy’ in the title? Did your face light up and think “great! Something happy to read about!”? Or did you think “Oh god… this positive mentality stuff really does my head in”.

It does seem strange to me why people (especially us Brits) have such a disdain for positive approaches to life. Well I have a confession. I too used to be one of those that got really turned off by this stuff. A super cynic maybe! A pessimist, rather than an optimist. So whatever side of this fence you default response was, be aware of it! Does it serve you? And will it serve other people? I will leave you with that enquiry to mull over.

Right! Rant over… Let’s get back to the article.

It seems strange to me that businesses, and people in general, rarely speak about the qualities that make good positive, productive and energetic workplaces. That’s the subject of this article. How many workplaces have you worked at, or still work at, that create the opposite.  I invite you to look at the table below and ponder over which establishment you would prefer.

Workplace A

Workplace B

  • Positive constructive environment.
  • Energetic and has a buzz.
  • Productive and making progress.
  • Negative miserable environment.
  • Lethargic, plod along pace. Asking anyone to do anything is going to take much longer than it needs to.
  • Getting anything completed feels like a struggle. Everything and everyone seems to collude to hold back completion of work.

I know which one I would choose. While I was writing about ‘Workplace B’, I could feel myself losing the will to live. I think it’s because I’ve actually worked in places like this, and the old feelings started bubbling up.

‘Workplace A’ feels like the place to be. I’m going to use that word again, so brace yourself… It’s a “happier” work place. There… That wasn’t too bad was it? What’s really interesting here, is the side effects of this environment. And how it serves everyone involved.

  • It serves the business, because it gets more stuff done.
  • It serves the customer, because the organisation knocks out what the customer wants in a timely manner… hopefully with a bit of good quality thrown in for good measure.
  • And it finally serves the workers/managers and business leaders. They are in an environment that makes them feel good, and possibly part of something bigger.

For ‘Workplace A’, everyone is in an environment that we scientifically call “Happy”. And the great thing is, everyone can take this good feeling home with them at the end of the day. So happiness in businesses has a multitude of superb end results. A win/win/win scenario (Business/Customers/Workers). I’ve come up with a cool funky representation of this “Win3“. Cool heh!

So it serves the business to be actively thinking about this. This brings me back to my statement earlier. Why don’t businesses and people consider this…? And not just consider it … but CONSIDER it seriously. I feel it should be part of everyone’s role in the business to be designing their work environments to create positively emotionally charged places (another way of saying the “Happy” word).

Happy Environments = Positively Emotionally Charged Environments (PECE)

(Note: I had to add in the “Charged” to avoid the acronym being PEE (i.e. un-cool))

Studies have shown again and again that PECEs create huge benefits all round. Taking this kind of thing seriously really does have huge benefits for the business. So why aren’t workplaces awash with this ‘Happy’ stuff? Well some enlightened businesses already have this. To name a few:-

  • Google
  • Virgin

And many more are joining the ranks. I feel we are on the verge of a workplace revolution. Those business owners that wake up to this hidden potential are going to reap huge rewards. At a minimum save their businesses from ruin.

Before I bring this article to a close, I just wanted to list some of the benefits that emerge from a PECE workplaces:-

  • Emotionally safer environment
    • Less confrontational situations.
    • More trust between individuals and teams.
    • A more spacious environment for people to explore new ways of doing things (without the fear of being hammered for trying something new).
    • People become more open minded to new ideas.
  • More Sociable atmosphere:-
    • Communication between people increases and becomes more constructive.
    • Negotiations of ideas and decisions become less confrontational.
    • Flexible thinking
    • Increased generosity to fellow workers with their time and resources.
    • Increase in positive interpersonal activities (kindness, compassion).
  • Improved thinking processes of individuals:-
    • Ability to think clearly (less fear to deal with).
    • Able to handle more complex situations and information better.
    • Better decision making.
    • Holistic view of situations (see the bigger picture)
    • Become solution focussed instead of problem focussed.
    • Positive evaluation of risks.
    • Better judgment.
    • More consideration of other people’s ideas.
    • See the bigger picture of company operations and their part in it.
    • Motivated to achieve goals.
    • More ethical about their personal actions and those of the business.
  • More creative environment:-
    • People’s minds are more creative when they are happier.
    • Increased exploration of new ideas and new ways of doing things.
    • People start to do things the way they want to do them (if the leadership lets go and allows delegation of responsibility)
    • Work becomes fun and engaging.
  • More productive:-
    • People are more thorough in what they do.
    • Increased delegation of responsibility.
    • Personal satisfaction of work.
    • People go above and beyond the remit of their assigned role.

It’s not impossible to have this where you are. It just requires a combination of vision, commitment, collaboration and coaching to get you there. It may well be the best change you ever make to your business. Happy work places, are good workplaces. Places where we can create that “Win3“. Happy Business. Happy Customers. Happy Workers.

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(Photo credit: jessicahtam / iWoman / CC BY)