Technology gave us speed and an easier life, but with it also brought more clutter and higher customer expectations and demands. The statistics on the impact of stress on the mental, physical and financial wellness of people are alarming and should not be underestimated. People are asking more frequently: Am I happy?
The media propagates increasingly faster lifestyles with a never ending pursuit of material magic musthaves in search of our own Eldorado’s. Consumerism demands ever increasing faster lifestyles and we think the more we have the happier we will be. But this comes with a prize.
The prize is an increase in cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and anxiety to name but a few. Recent research shows that stress claims are 4 times higher than non-stress claims. And more medical claims reduce one’s resources, debt spiraling starts to develop which causes more stress, and high-level stress directly influences our mood and happiness at home and at work.
Happiness is defined in psychology as a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging fromcontentment to intense to intense joy.(Wikipedia). According to Seligman, the following factors correlates strongly with well-being:
- Pleasure (tasty food, warm baths, etc.),
- Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
- Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
- Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
- Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals)
The work place can thus be an avenue of joy or an avenue of frustration. Or a destroyer of happiness or a builder of happiness.
What employers can do to support employees:
- Recognize the importance of work-life balance and engage employees in the understanding of happiness factors,
- Allow employees to focus on their strengths so that they experience their work as stimulating with a feeling of autonomy,
- Develop a culture of recognition, transparency and open communication,
- Find the right balance between showing care and applying discipline,
- Take care of burning issues in such a way to keep nurturing positive relationships,
- Keep the company vision alive so that employees work mindfully in achieving targets,
- Planned mentorship will support a culture of collaboration,
- Allow constant opportunities for learning and being creative.