We shouldn’t just focus on happiness once a year. We should focus on it every day, and measure happiness weekly.
Happiness ebbs and flows in our lives. At work we inevitably have good days and bad days. The trick is to have more good work days than bad ones, and avoid bad days turning into bad weeks, bad months and bad years. If businesses are going to take their employees’ happiness seriously, it needs to be embedded into their working weeks.
We've found you should track it weekly - asking people how their working week has gone, then feeding back the team’s results so they can start the next week by discussing what went well last week and what didn’t. This helps employees work together to make each week a bit better. A strong weekly rhythm – which we call a happiness cycle – builds happier, more productive teams over time, which is what everyone really wants.
A week is a natural length of time over which to reflect on our experience of work. Any longer – say a month – and most of us have forgotten what happened. Shorter time frames – such as daily – work well from a memory perspective, but most people get annoyed being asked everyday, and so response rates tend to drop.
International Day of Happiness on 20th March each year is a good time to remind everyone that not only is happiness a human good, but also that by fostering happiness, other “goods” will also be derived. For instance, in the world of work, employee happiness not only benefits employees, it also plays a key role in increasing innovation and profitability.
While a few business leaders do embrace happiness at work, it is fair to say that most leaders prefer to talk about having a good culture or being a great place to work. But if you consider what a good culture really is, then it’s clear it is one in which people “feel good”. In other words, one in which employees are happy.