EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
Our happiness , whether as an employee or citizen , is subjective rather than objective . The problem is that our expectations , while based on some shared fundamentals , are all as different and unique as we are . You and I , while we may work in the same field and live similar lives , will have our own personal vision of ‘ the good life ’. Extrapolate this further to the barman , brand manager and warehouse worker . Or the fuel station cashier , rig worker and commodities trader . Working within the same organisation , towards the same vision . Yet each leading very different lives with not just different , but potentially totally disassociated , views of what personal success is .
And let ’ s not forget the extraordinary events from the last year , with the pandemic challenging the levels set on all of these expectations . The result has been a greater focus on personal wellbeing , increased awareness of issues such as stress , anxiety and burnout and a stronger desire than ever to spend time with family and friends and doing the things we love .
Expectations are predominantly more qualitative than quantitative . While the hard metrics of job title , salary and holiday days are first to spring to mind , these are not what leads to true and prolonged happiness .
There ’ s no denying the elation of winning the big deal , getting that promotion you ’ ve been chasing or taking the long-awaited holiday is indeed rewarding .
But they are predominantly biochemical in nature . And as such , quickly dissipate . Only to be replaced with an overwhelming desire for the next big reward .
True happiness lies in building self-worth
In truth , what businesses really want are employees that are happy AND effective . People who are going to work to achieve something . But it ’ s important to remember the value of progressing on a small scale every day , rather than just aiming for the big standout achievements .
Challenge and achievement are not limited to the confines of objective success . Personal development , physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing all provide an opportunity for regular , sustained and positive progress . And – as lockdown showed – for a large portion of the population , simply getting dressed and going for a walk was overwhelmingly positive and powerful .
In the world of work , the cumulative benefit of completing an online training course , making time to take 10 minutes out of your day for a mindfulness session and simply completing tasks to leave work on time for a sustained number of days is incredibly powerful .
Never before have the small things counted so much . But remember , they don ’ t count as much when they ’ re handed to us .
Happiness is supported , not prescribed
As we continue to evolve processes and organisational structures around employees ’ changing needs , regular opportunities for personal and professional achievement must find their place alongside the delivery of business as usual .
The reality is that chasing short-lived elation , in the same way that it doesn ’ t lead to happiness outside of work , simply isn ’ t enough .
BEN INGRAM , HEAD OF EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
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