Happiness at Work Week: Top Tips to Increase Happiness at Work

Picture of the unleashed team. They are all sat around a conference table save one who is leading the meeting. They are all smiling or laughing.
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unleashed logo: a yellow plus sign with a pink background

Here at Hatch, we encourage our team to be experimental, and try new things out within their roles and across the charity. 

We use cross-team communications to increase opportunities to work on projects  and get involved in things that interest us, and to create a more psychologically safe environment where we can feel seen and heard. 

We also work with industry experts like Unleashed to point out our blind spots and improve our workplace culture so that we can all experience happiness at work.

Here are their top tips for increased happiness at work for yourself, and those around you. 

1. Build trust for yourself and those around you

Over half of employees worldwide say that trust directly impacts their sense of belonging, career choices, mental health, and daily effort.

Tom Jewell explains here how important building a trusting relationship across teams is, both for those in leadership roles and team members across a company.

"Can you trust your team? Do you feel trusted by others? If so, I bet you’re happier than most."

“I like to use a model called the trust equation to reflect how I can earn trust and how I can give trust more easily. It says credibility, reliability, and intimacy are all key components to developing trust, but the most powerful factor is the perception of how self-oriented you are.”

“Cultures that value team over individual will always win when it comes to trust, and those that don’t will create unhappy teams.”

“So I invite you to reflect; how trustworthy are you? And more importantly, how freely do you trust?”

2. Build a safe space where people feel seen and heard

“As human beings we all have different needs, motivations, dreams, and talents. Our desire for connection means it can be incredibly powerful when people really take the time to understand them.”

Hannah Keal explains that a workplace that nurtures happiness is one that values people’s individual strengths, ensures everyone’s voices and ideas are heard, and allows people to be their authentic selves.

Picture of Unleashed Team. They are all facing eachother while laughing. Two of them are putting colorful sticky notes on the wall and two are sat down at a desk.

Michaela Bartlam similarly concludes that a psychologically safe environment where people can be themselves without negative consequence to their self-image, status, or career is not only the key to building high performing teams, but it’s also the key to building really happy teams, and our own happiness at work.

3. Boost your "happy brain chemicals"

Michaela tells us that a psychologically safe environment “triggers our brain’s ability to secrete oxytocin, the hormone that’s linked to our feelings of affection and generosity and admiration for the people around us, which also in turn starts to disarm our threat response, allowing us to feel a closeness and relatedness to those colleagues and peers around us.”

So not only does this boost our happiness, it also boosts our ability to collaborate within teams.”

Holly Moon explains how getting our daily dose of the four “feel good hormones” or “happy brain chemicals” can be an extremely powerful tool to taking control of your happiness at work.

Having a workplace that makes space for engaging in activities throughout the day that promote the release of these hormones makes for higher potential of happiness in the workplace.

So, what are you going to do to increase your daily dose?

4. Take a people-first approach

Being people-first in the workplace is important whether you’re an employee or employer.

As an employee, this can be being aware and sensitive to your colleagues wants and needs. Carly Poulson tells us that building strong connections with the people you work with is crucial to happiness at work.

Picture of unleashed team. They are all sitting down and facing the camera except one who is facing the team, all smiling.

“At Unleashed, we have morning hellos, virtual coffees or donuts, and we have our Read Me’s which are our guides to ourselves; where we share what matters to us, our values.

“We have a connection budget, coworking time, and team activities that we build into our working week to create space for that connection which ultimately leads to happiness at the work place.

Lucy Mack tells us that conscious efforts need to be made to ensure team members feel like actual humans in their place of work, and not simply resources to be used to reach an already planned out goal.

“One of the biggest mistakes that we see people make is using way too much business jargon. We need to stay away from terms like “actioning employee engagement”, or anything that makes people feel like they’re more like resources than actual humans.”

Another important point Lucy makes is involving the whole team in feedback processes. Initiating dialogue with the team and involving them throughout the process will allow individuals to feel heard, listened to, and  improve their confidence when it comes to giving feedback, which will benefit whole teams moving forward.

5. Prioritise inclusion before diversity

"Within our philosophy, it’s important that we start to create an inclusive culture that values, accepts, respects, and supports all people before we start to think about bringing difference into our group."

Pavneet Khurana explains how important it is to create a safe space where differences in the team can be valued and included before thinking of diversifying the workplace. 

“Many organisations get this the other way around, and think that diversity hiring is the number one goal. But if we bring somebody in who’s different, looks different, feels different, behaves different, into our group, that is not accepting, and that is not respecting of their difference then that can actually be exclusive.”

Pavneet tells us that it is really important for organisations to really consider what inclusion looks like for everyone, and not just those in their environment.

If these initial steps aren’t taken, the workplace can be an unsafe space for some people where “we’re setting them up for failure, and putting them into a harmful position.”

At Hatch, we work with entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. We help them build smart ideas into successful, profitable, and sustainable businesses that have a positive and lasting impact on their communities.

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