Happiness is a science. It can be promoted and developed if the correct approach is taken. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs confirms the basic needs that must be met for a person to be happy. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is responsible for happiness and positive memories. Seratonin, a neurotransmitter released when people are happy, regulates learning, appetite and mood. The brain also releases dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, which are part of ‘the happy chemical team’.
Bringing it to the workplace
How does this science help management to create a happy workforce? Use the principles learnt in science to engage with your staff in activities that will result in the release of these happiness producing chemicals. “The two biggest factors that contribute to happiness around the world are a sense of community and frequent celebrations. In the working environment, happiness can be created through consistent forms of change, utilising formalised training sessions and including casual engagements,” confirms McGowan. “When we allow employees to laugh, learn, move and communicate, they become energised, rendering them more creative and enabling them to function more productively. Movement releases proteins and endorphins; so get your staff up and about. The break in routine will invigorate them too.”
The benefits of happiness
Research indicates that happy employees are less likely to seek employment elsewhere, leading to decreased staff turnover, while happy employees respect leadership, work well in teams and give a higher level of productivity and commitment to their work. “Happy employees are 180 percent more energised, 108 percent more engaged, 50 percent more motivated and 40 percent more confident than unhappy employees,” adds McGowan.
An article recently published on the British site, ActionforHappiness.org states that; “Any attempt to make your workplace a friendly environment for people with mental issues is good progress.” This is but one example of an international focus on shifting corporate culture to one that cares for the mental wellbeing and happiness of staff. South African corporate companies must realise the need to further incentivise and motivate employees by implementing campaigns that focus on enhancing their health and wellbeing; the physical side is being looked after, now it’s time to incorporate mental and emotional health too.
“Bring the happiness factor into your workplace and watch your people flourish! With increased morale, greater productivity and limitless motivation, success is inevitable,” concludes McGowan.
This article was supplied in press release form by Liane McGowan, founder of Happy Monday CC