An effective way to improve workplace happiness: Dogs

People who are happier at work enjoy life more, have better health, stronger relationships and improved sense of purpose. Furthermore, happy employees are more committed and driven to work whilst encouraged to look at the bigger picture (DeSteno, 2018). This has a positive impact on the organisation as employees are more productive, creative and committed. In turn, they are less stressed and better at coping and recovering from work strain or conflict.

Arbejdsglaede means happiness we derive from ‘doing’ something. Workplace happiness comes when people enjoy the tasks assigned to them. Additionally, feeling right about the people in the organisation and employee benefits contribute to workplace happiness. Finally, feeling respected and having the opportunity to build skills further contributes to workplace happiness. Millennials agree that happiness at work is the most attractive perk at work that can be offered.

This article will talk about the different ways workplace happiness can be enhanced and how to foster a happier working environment. Furthermore, it will discuss why workplace happiness is important and give a solution that could enhance happiness within the workplace.

Benefits of fostering a happier working environment

In the book “The Happiness Advantage”, Anchor (2011) noted that happy employees could increase company sales by 37% and productivity by 31%. Consequently, this could contribute to a high-performance working environment and improve the quality of life for individuals in the organisation.

Happiness leads to multiple successes – positivity and group performance. For example, a stressed individual might lose focus (Perkins, 2019). Whereas, strong positive feelings about one’s job will enhance enthusiasm and increase employee engagement.

Happier workplaces are more supportive during difficult times. Firstly, employees have a sense of purpose when making valuable contributions to others or society. Secondly, it improves engagement in relation to playfulness, creativity and levity. Thirdly, it increases resilience, which is the ability to handle, adapt and learn from setbacks. Finally, kindness and orienting thoughts and actions towards caring for others create a genuinely supportive culture (DeSteno, 2018).

How can an organisation increase workplace happiness?

A simple “hello” can go a long way. To make employees feel happy and smile, say “hello” and ask colleagues how they are doing. In turn, this will make employees feel happy to be at work. Go even further and send an exciting ecard, to say “Thank You for Your Hard Work”. This will symbolise appreciation for fellow team members.

Praise and recognition. Everyday gestures of workplace appreciation have proven to bring teams closer together, lift morale and improve productivity. For instance, Walden University demonstrated doubling the number of employees that received regular recognition has a snowball effect. Furthermore, it increase output quality by 24% and reduced absenteeism by 27%.

Employee benefits. Offer perks at work can help employees with morale and passion for their job. For example, rewards and recognition or maybe allowing dogs into the office.

Exercise. Interestingly, research demonstrated that physical activity interventions have a moderately positive effect on employees’ happiness (Travers, 2020).  Hold monthly yoga classes for team members. This can reduce stress and encourage workplace wellness. A Welllbeing Hub can also contribute to workplace happiness.

Are dogs part of the solution to workplace happiness?

People are happier in their jobs when they have friends at work (Sands, 2021). Research found that 63% of people asked were worried about their dogs when ‘normal’ life resumes.

Therefore, dog-friendly workplaces could alleviate stress and anxiety with the return to work. Dogs could form part of the solution to workplace happiness and encourage productivity (Collins, 2019) Additionally, 33% of people asked said that dogs improve productivity.

A study conducted in 2017 found that pets offer social support and reduce stress. For example, employees of Google are allowed to bring their pets to work. They even have their own name – “Dooglers!” Moreover, other research found that employees bringing their pets to work see a 22% increase in satisfaction with their working conditions. It is important to note that application forms and appropriate approval processes should be in place, as well as “dog-free” zones.

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