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Above all else, don’t forget happy

Alan Price, CEO BrightHR

A full-time employee will spend around a quarter of their time at work. When you take the weekend and time spent sleeping out of the equation, this increases to 50% of our waking hours Monday-Friday.

For the vast majority, working is a necessity – we need to pay the bills and maintain a quality of life. But that’s not to say that time spent working cannot be enjoyable.

Job site Indeed says that 91% of people who are planning to leave their current role list ‘happiness’ as a main priority when choosing their next, whilst research reveals that the average UK worker would take a 10% pay cut in order to have ‘above average’ happiness at work – despite the cost-of-living crisis.

These findings clearly show the importance employees place on happiness at work. But there’s also benefits for employers too.

The University of Warwick found in a 2021 study that happiness made people around 12% more productive. NexaLearning states that happy people are three times more creative, and 23% less likely to experience burnout.

With this being International Week of Happiness at Work, BrightHR CEO Alan Price shares his advice on how to champion a happy workforce.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to guarantee a happy workforce, but a great place to start is by listening to your staff. A workplace that empowers employees, encouraging them to be forthcoming with feedback, both positive and negative, as well as openly raising any concerns and ideas, then acting on them will automatically foster a more positive culture.

“The importance of rewarding and recognising your staff should not be underestimated. It’s a real morale booster and can be an incentive for greater levels of productivity. You can show your appreciation through things like annual bonuses and pay rises if you are in a position to do so, mentoring initiatives, profit-sharing, shoutouts for top-performers, employee recognition wall displays, a handwritten note, a recommendation on LinkedIn… the list goes on!

“Small perks can also go a long way in contributing to your employees’ happiness. Free fruit, subsidised gym memberships, social outings, dress down days, games, etc. are just a few, inexpensive ways you can show your employees that you care about their happiness. However don’t rely on these alone – they can be seen as empty gestures if your overall culture is not right.

“Prioritise upskilling and support your employees’ progression with training and mentorship. Committing to a culture of continuous learning and development with plenty of opportunities for career advancement will help with retention rates and prevent employees from feeling undervalued or in a stagnant role.

“Employees are increasingly expecting their employer to have a strong focus on corporate social responsibility initiatives. 34% of UK workers would turn down a job from a company with poor sustainability credentials. Being part of an organisation which actively works toward a more enhanced society and environment helps people feel part of something bigger. Every step taken is a positive one and your staff will thank you for it.

“And finally, ONS data shows 78% of UK employees who worked from home in some capacity felt their work life balance improved. It’s not for everyone but offering flexible working practices can reduce stress and improve happiness – both in work and outside of it.”

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