We’ve never been more aware of the importance of being happy at work.
Mental health has been thrust into the limelight, with people in the public eye regularly talking about the battles they face. We all know that it’s good to talk, and to be open about any issues that could be affecting our mental health. Along with this wave of acceptance that we are all on life’s rollercoaster comes a focus on mental health in the workplace – and how work can either help keep us buoyant, or severely rock the boat.
Every business has a duty of care to its staff, but those that go further and actually put plans in place to promote happiness across their teams don’t just see more smiles around the office, they actually see their profit margins increase.
You see, having happy employees leads to more creativity, innovation and dedication when compared with workers that are unhappy. They are more likely to stick around for the long term and take less sick time, which means lower costs.
One extensive study into happiness and productivity was conducted at BT contact centres by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School over six months. It seems workers at the contact centres were 13% more productive when they are happy, they worked faster and converted more calls to sales. Another study cited by Harvard Business Review explained that disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more errors and defects. While research at the University of Warwick estimated that happy employees increased productivity up to 12% and that there was more innovation, and less conflict.
Here at PCS we have long been advocates for promoting happiness in the workplace, hosting various talks and webinars on the subject. So, we have been able to put our knowledge and skills on the subject into action within our own organisation.
We call our approach the 5 C’s and it is our guide for ensuring that all employees feel happy and motivated while at work.
Here’s the PCS recipe for happiness at work:
This should go two ways, where employees feel they can talk openly with their line manager and also where the company is keeping the whole team informed. Great communication brings with it trust, especially if you can talk to employees about the company’s aspirations and goals for the future. It makes your team feel valued and shows them their efforts are going towards something really positive for the business. At PCS we have an open door approach, where employees are encouraged to talk through any issues or problems they have with their line manager.
This may have been tricky over the last year, due to remote working. However, the positives of remote working have far outweighed the negatives and so the feedback we’ve been getting through our regular meetings with individual staff members has been really positive.
We are all trying to balance work and home life. It can sometimes be hard to focus on work when there are other things happening in our lives that divert our attention. At PCS we know that all our teams put great importance on the jobs they do – all of them want to do a good job. That’s why we encourage them to regularly take a breather, as rest periods are important if they are going to be productive and more focused when at their desk. Also, if anything comes up in life that they have to focus on, we ensure they have that flexibility. Over the last year we have listened to our employees and heard that working from home has actually allowed them to achieve more – both in their work life and their home life.
Commuting time is spent helping the kids get ready for school or catching up on emails, and lunch breaks are enjoyed in the garden or going for a local walk. This is why, at PCS, we have decided to have working from home as our default, with trips into the office taking place only when needed.
3.) Career Progression
How many people have left jobs because they have felt stagnant and their hard work hasn’t been acknowledged in any way? Feeling like your company doesn’t appreciate your work has a big impact on your happiness. It can make workers feel like they aren’t trusted if their line manager isn’t asking for their input or ideas. Employers should be asking each individual if they’d like to learn something new, or improve their skills in a certain area. This boost to their skills can helps motivate them to do a job well. At PCS we know that hard work should be rewarded, and career progression is one of the ways we do this.
Recently in our team we promoted Dean Edwards to senior product specialist. Last year saw four promotions with Alison Seawright becoming product manager, Andy Sutherland to development manager, Danni Richards to content marketing specialist and Matt Mansell to editorial product manager. Also this year we listened to one of our team – Dan Mills, who decided he wanted a change of direction to become a junior developer.
Getting on with your colleagues is important – especially if you are in an office spending eight hours with them five days a week. Often people spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their own family. Some companies know that camaraderie among their employees gives them a competitive advantage over their rivals because it can help with staff retention while improving creativity and productivity.
Conversations between work buddies can develop into innovative discussions that have a positive impact on the company.
At PCS we have a number of initiatives that are designed to improve camaraderie across each team. We have a company culture that encourages people to feel at ease – casual clothing is encouraged and chatting over a tea break is the norm. Even though we often work from home, we still promote team work and socialising so people get to know each other outside of work.
Constructive criticism is great – but notice how it’s not one of our magic C’s! This is because while helping to guide people in the right direction is great, you also want to give them a pat on the back for the good things they are doing. Working as part of a team is a brilliant boost for productivity but people also want to be acknowledged for their individual efforts. You can set goals and track progress, so then you can see what each individual has accomplished – and congratulate them for achieving those goals. One way to show your employees that their work is appreciated is to offer them perks
it’s a nice way to say thank you. In the last year we have given our teams an extra day off for their birthday and we are increasing our flexible working initiative by continuing with working from home. At the end of the day, we know that saying “thank you” counts for a lot – and is appreciated by the people that you work with.
It’s interesting to see that some of the world’s biggest companies are very focused on happiness. For example, Google has invested in its staff by employing a chief happiness officer and having perks that include on-site doctors, car wash, pool tables and free food. It has worked for Google as they have seen satisfaction among staff rise by 37 per cent. It seems that happier workers are using their time more effectively and increasing the pace they work at, without sacrificing on quality.
While we can’t all be like Google, we can learn from their determination to invest in their employees. By caring about the experience that your employees have while they are at work it can lead to an increase in production and profits, which sounds like a great win-win situation.
It certainly works for Team PCS.