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What is the “Happiness at Work Index”: should I know about it, measure it and do something about it?

Dec 30, 2016
What is the “Happiness at Work Index”: should I know about it, measure it and do something about it?

A UK initiative, the Happiness at Work Index was launched in 2007 as a quarterly survey to track happiness over time based upon a series of standard questions.

Happiness in the workplace is a topic written about time and time again, and it’s because it’s an important personal and HR issue – there’s even an international day dedicated to happiness!

We spend a significant portion of our lives at work. Being miserable at work can spill into our personal lives so it makes sense to tackle any issues you have in the workplace sooner rather than later. It also benefits your career, happiness is an important success factor for a modern workplace, and leads to the greatest competitive advantage in our economy: a positive and engaged workforce.

Happiness and well being are influenced by, and influence, multiple connected factors. At work these factors include the organisation system, the personal resources that employees bring to work as well as how well they are able to carry out their jobs, and their experiences at work.

It is through a better understanding of these connections that individuals and organisations can identify the changes that will create a happier and more productive workplace. Creating happiness at work is really a journey rather than a destination – a process rather than an outcome.

The five ways to well being

The five ways to well being are a set of positive actions to help get started on your way to a happier life. While we all have different circumstances and different likes and dislikes, these five ways are broad enough for you to find your own style of happiness. Try them out at work and in your daily life.

Connectwith the people around you

With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Be active

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Garden. You’ve heard it before but exercising really does make you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your mobility and fitness.

Take notice

Be curious. Appreciate beauty. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep learning

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Learn to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.


Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

We are all in charge of our own happiness, but there are small things employers can do as well as your colleagues. If you would like more information regarding happiness in the workplace, email info@theofficecoach.co.za