Prioritizing happiness at work can lead to numerous benefits for employees and organizations. Every business owner, corporate leader, or established pioneer knows the importance of having happy employees. Interestingly, the consequence of the positive impact a happy workplace has on employees vis-à-vis productivity, profitability, and sustainability makes for a generally healthy organization in such a way that money cannot buy.

Moreover, job satisfaction’s causative and correlative effects on the body, family, and communities cannot be over-emphasized, considering the enigmatic twist of a happy work culture that transcends a mere pay rise or promotion. Studies revealed that increases in compensation, job promotion, or career advancements are all susceptible to hedonic adaptation likened to just getting married or hitting the jackpot.

Therefore, the secret to creating and maintaining a happy work environment is adopting exciting ways to boost the happiness levels of those in that environment. Coincidentally, the International Week of Happiness at Work is observed every last week in September; therefore, I would like to share a few tips you can adopt to celebrate the event in your workplace this year.

Invite Inspiration: Ask a workplace wellness expert to give a talk and conduct a need assessment through a short survey to initiate and establish a proper feedback channel.

RAK/DAK – Be it a random act of kindness (RAK) or a deliberate act of kindness (DAK), kind-heartedness goes a long way in creating a healthy, happy atmosphere in any organization, especially when recipients least expect it. So, engage your team members to think through how and to whom they would like to show kindness. It may interest you to know that every act of kindness benefits both parties in boosting happiness levels.

Happy Habits: Unexpected joyful outbursts will lower anyone’s blood pressure. I have experienced them in some eateries around here, especially when given a tip or requesting a fresh order. Even if these outbursts are for show, the actions often endear these organizations to their customers while benefiting the staffers. Happy habits can also be encouraged by giving exercises or tasks that promote happiness, confidence, and calm. The secret to its success is consistency and uniformity.

Leading Letters: Ask all your leaders at all levels to write gratitude notes to their team members stating specific qualities or skill(s) they appreciate in the individual. One of the attributes of a great leader is the ability to be people-focused. Writing leading letters of gratitude will encourage the receiving subordinate and help the leader know everyone well, boosting the recipient’s confidence and happiness.

Upped PTO: Create a paid time off aside from the standard annual leave or the emergency days off. This particular PTO can be in the form of hours dedicated to activities that enhance productivity, promote creativity, or instill calm in your workers. Ensure employees share or post pictures or selfies of how the free hours have boosted their happiness levels.

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Peer Props: Offer gratitude cards that employees can fill out to appreciate colleagues who have brought joy to them in the week. Display the notes on a designated wall or share the posts for public recognition.

Space Spruce: One of the most underrated ways of creating a happy environment is adding plants to the space. So, alter an already clean and fresh office space by bringing in flowers and indoor plants. Giving each desk a miniature plant can always serve as a good gesture reminder. Other ways to spruce up the office space can be to display children’s artwork, poems, and assignments or play some feel-good music there.

Happy Hour: Literarily plan some fun activities for each day of the week. Encourage participation and posting of photos/selfies. You may invite a gym instructor to take a fitness class, offer free back, neck, shoulder, or hand massage through professional masseuses, engage the service of an entertainer, host a friendly tournament with other players in your industry, or an in-house competition.

Free Food: Who wouldn’t like free food and drinks? Put a twist to this by encouraging a themed cook or bake-off (as facility permits) or engaging a favourite food vendor to do the honors.

Even though ideas are endless, these eight tips are more than enough to play around with in a week or even all year round. It may also interest you that they can form great ways to celebrate the upcoming International Week of Happiness at Work this year.

International Week of Happiness at Workplace is a worthy NGO initiative promoting workplace wellness globally, and it will be observed for the first time in Nigeria this year. If you come across this piece and want to feature the great work your organization is doing toward creating a happy workplace, do not hesitate to contact me; an opportunity for international recognition is yours.

Considering all that is currently happening, there is no better time to make your employees happy or even happier. Embracing a happy workplace culture may be the missing link to turning the trajectory of your organization into an unstoppable, upward-bound one. So, whatever you choose to do, be sure that the goal is to make happiness at work a norm and not a misnomer. Let’s make this year’s International Week of Happiness at Work memorable from the 25th to the 29th of September, 2023.

Olayinka Opaleye, a well-being specialist and corporate wellness strategist, writes from Lagos