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Why happiness at work matters – Webinar Summary

Why happiness at work matters

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What if we told you, “If you do this one very simple thing, you will be much more successful at work. You will get much bigger salary raises, you will get promoted faster, and yes, your boss will like you!”

On 28th November 2018, Professor Raj Raghunathan of the University of Texas shares three simple tips to being happier at work. You can access the full recording of this webinar here.

The question of happiness has always been around – Buddha famously left his kingdom for the answer to this question; Aristotle and many other philosophers have been after this question. We’re lucky now to have a vast body of scientific evidence on this topic.

The Functionality of Happiness

What we know now is that we don’t seek happiness only because it feels good. The feel-good factor might seem like a primary driver.  It is also “functional” to be happy – there are positive downstream consequences that emerge from being happy.

  1. Happier people are healthier –
    1. Happiness is like a tonic for good health; A famous longitudinal study conducted on nuns showed that the happier nuns outlived the unhappier nuns by 11 years.
    2. Happier people are also less likely to take sick leave. Research shows that happier people are likely to take 16 fewer days of sick leave than unhappier people.
  2. Happier people enjoy better relationships – they have a higher chance of getting married, building long lasting friendships, and be better partners in a team; The intuitive reason for this is that happier people are more giving.
  3. Happier people are more productive – This is an obvious consequence of better health and stronger relationships. In fact, research shows that:
    1. Happier people are more creative, more objective and make better decisions
    2. Happier people earn more money for themselves and their organization

A prime reason for organizations to care about the happiness of their employees is because, on average, organizations with happier people are 9% more profitable than organizations with unhappy employees.

Defining Happiness

Professor Raghunathan defines happiness as consisting of four positive components:

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  1. Pleasure, refers to anything good that comes from the five human senses
  2. Positivity, refers to positive emotions such as love, appreciation, pride, gratitude, joy, serenity, laughter, curiosity, interest and engagement, etc.
  3. Meaning, refers to contributing to other people by being kind and giving
  4. Purpose, refers to finding something that is so engaging and immersive that you lose track of time while doing it

In short, happiness refers to being in a state of contentment with where you are and what you’re doing.

Happiness at Work

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It takes 2 to BAMBA

“You are the lead dancer in the BAMBA dance – you can have a much bigger impact on your happiness than your organization can.”

The Set-Point Theory of Happiness argues that:

  • 50% of a person’s happiness depends on their DNA. Individuals don’t have much control over this – some people are simply born much happier than other people.
  • Only 10% of a person’s happiness depends on the external circumstances – while this may seem surprising, think about all the people who are successful yet miserable, or poor but content, etc.
  • A large part of our happiness, about 40% depends on our attitude – how we choose to perceive the world around us. This is the biggest determinant of how happy an individual is.

Three tips to increasing happiness at work

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Tips for protecting your “cream time”

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Tips to express gratitude

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Tips for a healthy lifestyle

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You can access the presentation deck displayed during this webinar here.

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  • Published by: Anand Udapudi in Blog

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