A simple way to appreciate the good things at work
Faking happiness at work makes you unhappy
Any job has good and bad things to it. Any job. Yours too. Maybe you kinda like your co-workers, you're good at what you do and the food rocks - but on the other hand the commute is deadly and your boss is a bit of a jerk.
Here's the point: Even though all jobs contain good and bad elements, most people overfocus on the bad things. In this 4-minute video I talk about why that is and what you can do about it.
This is the first video in a series of five that we did for Danish enzyme producer Novozymes. They are already a great workplace, and as part of a campaign called "It's Great to be a Zymer" wanted a simple, fun way to communicate the basic concepts of happiness at work to their employees in Denmark, China, USA and Brazil and hired us to do these videos, which their employees can access on the intranet. They have very kindly allowed us to share the videos with a wider audience.
A lot of self-help advice is about faking happiness, in order to become happy. If you’re in a bad mood, you should pretend to be happy, and that will make you happier for real. You should force a smile, force yourself to focus on the positive, chat with others in a friendly way or similar. It’s often called “fake it till you make it”.
I honestly don’t believe that’s how it works, and now there’s some evidence to support this view:
…scientists tracked a group of bus drivers for two weeks, focusing on them because their jobs require frequent, and generally courteous, interactions with many people.
The scientists examined what happened when the drivers engaged in fake smiling, known as “surface acting”…
After following the drivers closely, the researchers found that on days when the smiles were forced, the subjects’ moods deteriorated and they tended to withdraw from work. Trying to suppress negative thoughts, it turns out, may have made those thoughts even more persistent.
So what does work? Finding actual (you might say real) reasons to be happy:
…on days when the subjects tried to display smiles through deeper efforts — by actually cultivating pleasant thoughts and memories — their overall moods improved and their productivity increased.
So if you’re having a crappy day at work don’t just fake happiness – find reasons to be happy. And if that doesn’t work, go ahead and have a crappy day. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and we all do it regularly.
So what can you do if you have a bad day at work? Here are some suggestions from previous articles of ours:
Happiness at work in India
Three weeks ago I was in India to speak at the World HRD Congress in Mumbai. I had an absolute blast there and my speech was very well received – here’s some sample feedback:
And India desperately needs more happiness at work. Read my trip report to learn why.
“Your presentation was the best I’ve seen in 20 years in HR.”
“It was really great listening to your talk. I have implemented a lot of it in my life and I can already feel a huge difference.”
“Alexander Kjerulf was the rock star in the World HRD congress this year. He mesmerized participants from 79 countries with a simple yet powerful approach to create a happy work place.”
I'll be speaking at WorldBlu Live in San Francisco in May
I’ll be speaking at the WorldBlu Live conference on May 19 and 20 in San Francisco, an event that is guaranteed to be absolutely amazing and inspiring.
The theme for the event is democracy at work, ie. how do you create workplaces that are based on freedom rather than on command and fear. There are two reasons why this interests me: First of all, my company is run democratically. I can truly imagine no other way to do it. Secondly, democratic workplaces are happier workplaces. When you grant employees trust, autonomy and freedom to make decisions, there is a much bigger chance that they will be happy at work.
Read all about the WorldBlu conference and sign up for it here.
Ever get the feeling that you’re the only person in your workplace who displays any energy what so ever? Does it maybe feel a little something like this?
More happiness at work
If you want even more happiness at work you could:
Have a happy day,
The happy at work team
Alexander Kjerulf, Arlette Bentzen, Patricia Kjerulf, and Jon Kjær Nielsen