Happiness is a by-product

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As a society, we’ve wholeheartedly embraced the search for happiness as something that will make our lives better. And yes, happiness does have some obvious perks at work too. Professors Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Proto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happiness makes people 12-20% more productive. In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor says, being happy makes us more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.

So, we should all just try to be happier right? The problem with this lies in how we define happiness. We’ve been trained to see happiness as an inside job. We must focus on making ourselves happy – read the right books, eat the right foods, do the right activities.

But happiness has little to do with what we do for ourselves and more to do with who’s beside us while we’re doing it. Happiness is simply a by-product of building relationships with others. The longest running study on happiness by Harvard researchers – over 80 years – found that close relationships are what keep people happy throughout their lives (not too mention healthier as well).

If we want people to benefit from the perks of happiness, we need to shift our focus from “what do I need to make myself happy?” to “how can I build stronger, closer relationships with people in my life?” When we spend our time and energy on the latter, happiness is a natural result.

What does this look like in our workplaces? It means cultivating environments that not only make room for people to connect as human beings but make it a priority as well.

A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Why do you think good relationships make people happier?

  2. What do you do personally and at work to build better relationships?

  3. What can you do as a team/organization to make room for people to build relationships with one another?