Happiness at work: Four ideas for a cheery workplace.

Nixon McInnes blackboard 'Wall of Win'.
I am a pretty lucky man in that I really like what I do for a living. And I also usually get to work in friendly, supportive and encouraging environments where it is very nice indeed to feel like you are working during the day among friends.

Getting on with your colleagues is right up there in the whole ‘being happy at work’ thing, as is knowing that you are doing and achieving something purposeful and indeed meaningful. City and Guilds produced a brilliant infographic on happiness at work in 2012:


So I thought that I’d share a few of the tips and notions that have helped to add just a little bit of sparkle and shine to the working environment.

1. Start the week well:

Writing on the board of Weekend Wisdoms on a MOnday morning at Claremont.Monday, Monday and all that. A chore that needs to be turned quickly into a pleasure, even if just a minor one. At the superb Digital PR agency Claremont they start the week with a team meeting, but with an added twist. Everyone shares one thing that they’ve learned over the weekend; a ‘Weekend Wisdom’. This brings everyone together telling stories of the weekend antics but also sharing something practical and useful for the week ahead. It breaks that start of Monday ‘ice’ nicely.

2. Show off about people’s achievements:

Edd Paris 'built with love text' under a desk.Maybe this could also be titled ‘End the week well’ as I really like the way that some agencies will share and shout about what their people have been up to that week. Not in an arrogant fashion and you might well think that the outside world really doesn’t care. But that’s not the point. You will care and so will your colleagues. Celebrating things going well and being done well is key to a happier workplace, helping giving a good sense of achievement to all.

And it’s not just about that great big new business win. It could be how someone handled a certain situation, finished a difficult task or just made bucketloads of cups of tea and made everyone happy!

Wired Sussex write these sorts of things on a board throughout the week and then share this with everyone over social media. You could also end the week with everyone talking of one thing that they are proud of, and actually also one thing they are not. Being able to embrace, learn and laugh about a little bit of failure is a good thing too, something I learned whilst with the wonderful folk at Nixon McInnes.

3. Be all inclusive:

Huddled together yung chicksSounds like common sense but a lot of praise and congratulations goes on behind closed doors as it were. Nixon McInnes had a ‘Wall of Win’ where any member of staff, client or indeed office visitor could take a piece of chalk and write up something awesome that’s just happened. Similar to the above but the main thing here is that anyone and everyone can share wonderful things, not just a line manager or the like. Yes, it got silly sometimes but every visitor was fascinated & amazed by this wall of colourful praise!

And this inclusivity can work with big things like planning for the year ahead. Get everyone together and let each person mark out what we all want to do and achieve together this year. You do need a big wall and maybe undertaking in teams of course, but let the ideas flow and let people feel like they are part of something grand and wonderful. (Another superb Nixon McInnes idea this one by the way.)

4. Do something different:

Nixon McInnes moving day unusual stuff on a desk.Surprise people, take them out of their area of comfort, and help to make a happier workplace. Fair enough that people often like routine and do not like being forced into doing anything that they do not want to. Role play being the obvious example here!

So what I mean here is to change the daily routine a little every now and then. I once conducted an ideas meeting on the Thames Clipper. And it was ridiculously productive and fun. Change the environment and thus change the way people think a little.

Have a little read about the Brighton ‘change’ agency ‘Do Something Different’ on their website.

And I would finally suggest having a look through the videos of the speakers at the awesome ‘Meaning Conference‘.

Simple things then to help with people’s sense of achievement, purpose and enjoying working together.

A more compact version of this post first appeared on the Claremont blog at: http://claremont.org.uk/4-tips-for-a-happy-workplace/

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