5 habits to help you spread happy vibes at work

Happiness at work starts at the top, and executives can be successfully contagious for their employees — here’s how.

This article was originally published on The CEO Magazine

When I ask CEOs, “What is happiness at work?” the reactions are always different. Some are troubled by the question; they justify their lack of interest by believing there are more important issues than being happy. Others believe happiness is a right; it’s to be pursued by any means and is essential for the welfare of the individual and the benefit of the company. I agree with the latter personalities, and with Richard Branson when he says, “Happiness is the secret ingredient for successful businesses. If you have a happy company, it will be invincible.”

The reasons why happiness is so critical to business have been recorded in several studies. A survey by Gallup found only 13% of employees worldwide feel engaged at work, while a recent study by economists at the University of Warwick revealed happy employees were 12% more productive than their unhappy colleagues. Studies by Harvard Business School also show that happy workers are more creative, optimistic and motivated, better able to solve problems, make good decisions, and learn faster.

The good news? In order to seek happiness at work, you don’t have to quit your job, venture to the Himalayas and meditate in a cave for years. The simplest way to pursue happiness is to replace bad habits with good ones. On a personal level, it means improving your life habits; in a collective space, such as the workplace, it means changing the corporate culture.

Executives who care authentically about their employees create successful companies. Executives who are attentive only to profits create dissatisfaction, anxiety
and mistrust.

One of the pillars of happiness within an organisation must start from the top of the organisational chart. Executives who care authentically about their employees create successful companies. Executives who are attentive only to profits create dissatisfaction, anxiety and mistrust. 

All executives can play a key role in creating a happy working environment by placing the wellbeing of the employee within the company’s strategies and values. The most successful companies strive to build authentic relationships, show staff they honestly care about them, and put their employees first. If employees are treated well, they will in turn genuinely look after customers. The end result? Happy shareholders and a very happy business. 

Here are 5 habits to help you spread happy vibes at work:

  1. Be a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) first, then a CEOA CHO works to create a sustainable and successful company by placing happiness as a key value in the business model. Happiness applied in this way improves the organisation’s DNA. This doesn’t mean replacing the current business model; rather, it’s an opportunity to dive deeper into what your company is and what it represents in the marketplace before worrying about anything else.
  2. Act with authenticity and coherenceGenuine, authentic care of employees is the vehicle to communicate a new culture. First, you need to understand the profound value and meaning your people give the company: they’re what makes everything happen. Later, every action you take has to be coherent and real; it means creating an environment that listens to employees’ needs while also ensuring that if circumstances change within the company, such as a restructure, you stay consistent with your previous actions.
  3. Be spontaneously happyPositive psychology has shown that happiness is contagious and executives can spread it by being happy themselves. Being happy means knowing how to deal with difficult times when they inevitably happen and enjoying positive ones, with the goal of having the best personal and professional life experience as possible. To smile is important but not essential. Be happy when you really are happy, and be focused on trying the rest of the time.
  4. Start taking care of your talentsThe contented nature of an employee starts on the first day of employment; in fact, there’s no second chance to make a good impression. CEOs can get in the habit of meeting new employees of the month, or at least the most promising talents, to figure out who they are.
    They can organise an informal meeting to discuss the history and vision of the company, and transmit to new employees the values of the organisational culture.
  5. Celebrate learning, not successes or failures The learning that comes from both success and failure is essential for growth, and it’s for this reason that executives should help employees celebrate both — though promoting failures certainly doesn’t make sense. What you should encourage is the understanding of problems that happen during successes as well as failures. Executives can celebrate a few successes and talk of failures with all employees during key meetings, making it a ritual of organisational culture.

CEOs and leaders have a great opportunity to create a happy workplace where employees can achieve their full personal and professional potential. As the forerunners of the organisation, it’s their duty to build a happy culture, ensure the wellbeing of employees is front of mind, and make happy employees one of their highest priorities at work.

These actions will translate into a successful company. Applying consistently good habits over time will ultimately create a happier work environment, foster the motivation and engagement of employees, and inevitably lead to increases in innovation and profitability.  

Work From Home Day – April 10th

Today is the official launch of April 10th as #workfromhomeday and perhaps how many people are working from home right now.

Working from home is, for many people, the first step to working remotely. I’ve seen a lot of people change for the better when they start working from home, so although it’s not the way I usually work, I fully support it.

There are countless advantages. It is a day for many employers to take in hand some request for working from home and give a chance to someone. Maybe you’ll make someone happy, if you are an employer. Most of the time it happens that the quantity and quality of work remains the same or increases so there is just a little risk. 🤭

🌴Today I will also be working from home here in Costa Rica. 🌴

Breaking the mould: The future of innovation is all about people

No matter what kind of innovation CEOs and executives decide is best for the future of a company, the common thread is people, writes Giovanni Battista Pozza.

This article was originally published on The CEO Magazine

Organisations have a great potential to nurture knowledge, relationships, skills, and, most of all people, all of which can empower innovation. The possibility for innovation is not just a matter of processes and methodologies, creative brainstorming and rapid prototyping — but also culture.

Michael Schrage, one of the world’s most original thought leaders on innovation, purports that innovation is about “the intensity of people’s passion.” It is the winning combination of people and culture, an environment that allows ideas to thrive, and a workplace that contributes to wellbeing and happiness that promotes innovation.

One of the most difficult tasks for any organisation is to build an engine for innovation, an open space where a company can build its future. Ideally, this strategic space promotes innovation in a way most fitting for the company: to increase efficiency, sustain the established business, and to create new growth.

The ability of a business to innovate is in the ability of the business to create an environment that promotes people growth.

No matter what kind of innovation CEOs and executives decide is best for the future of a company, the common thread is people. Promoting innovation in people leads to an inventive workplace culture, which means happy clients and happy employees — and the creation of better products and services.

Business leaders and executives play a fundamental role in this model because they are the only ones that can modify and improve a company’s DNA. It’s obvious that the ability of a business to innovate is in the ability of the business to create an environment that promotes people growth.

Executives are responsible for the management and organisational innovation process. In particular, the role of chief HR officer is fundamental as the person with the knowledge of people’s needs and in evaluating the best employee experience possible.

12 principles for a more innovative workforce

  1. Pursue happiness at work

    This creates a good base for individual and company welfare, which means people can fulfil their potential.
    Care about company culture — allows the organisation to grow according to its values and its purpose. If your company is the tree, the company culture is its roots.

  2. Create a context that matches people’s needs

    Give every member the resources they need to do their best work, whether that’s around an individual’s wellbeing, the workspace in general, or the technology used daily.

  3. Have fun

    This is a key factor to create more satisfied employees. Too often, managers wrongly think that work is the only thing key to maximising production.

  4. Be more democratic

    This allows you to be a unique organisation. Instead of a typical corporate structure, it’s better not to have a rigid hierarchy. Businessman Bill Gore described it as a “latticework” of strong interconnected talents woven together like a tapestry.

  5. Be 99% agile

    To optimise resources, save time and give value to the work of people first, rather than to the number of hours they spend in front of their desks.

  6. Create a great employee experience

    This will attract talent and give good reason to those already in the company to not leave and work elsewhere. It’s important to always have in mind the bigger picture because the employee experience begins with the hiring announcement and ends with the last day of work.

  7. Be 50% digital, 50% human

    One for the CIOs: this means allowing people to use technologies where needed, but leaving the rest to individual ability.

  8. Foster customer happiness

    Creating favourable conditions for the employees who work in areas that touch the market, like customer support, to ensure the relationship between client and brand is a happy one.

  9. Let people be diverse and inclusive

    This allows the company to create universal products and services giving value to all points of views and individual expertise.

  10. Rely on EQ (emotional intelligence) more than IQ

    Hire for attitude and personality traits, and train for skills, because a good company culture starts with successful hires. Companies of the future are recognising this value.

  11. Escape the culture of average

    Foster and encourage the talent that will make the company grow faster. This will in turn provide an example
    for those working around them.

Overall, there are many advantages to promoting innovation in the workforce. An organisation that contributes to social and professional growth of its workforce contributes to the wellbeing of its people in their personal life too — and both result in the benefit of innovation. It’s a win–win for businesses and for people.

The workplace of the future

What trends are driving the future of work, work spaces and, importantly, the wellbeing of employees?

This article was originally published on The CEO Magazine

Despite the deep social changes that have transformed people’s lives over the years, the workplace has remained essentially the same. Many people still work in traditional working environments with the same desks, computers and work habits that have always seemed to exist.

Metropool, Amsterdam by Brigitte Kroone

Well, not for much longer. In the upcoming years, the workplace will evolve drastically, even altering the meaning of the word ‘work’. The evolution of the workplace was explored at the recent Salone del Mobile exhibition in Milan, ‘Workplace 3.0’, at which international architects created an installation, ‘A Joyful Sense at Work’, dedicated to the cultural and anthropological transformations taking place in the workplace. This concept of Workplace 3.0 has re-interpreted offices as a fluid place in motion, to be appropriated and experienced through play and joy.

We are seeing a movement in which people – especially the younger generations – affirm their uniqueness. The standard workplace and its rules, which masked the uniqueness of individuals in order to adapt to an organisation’s needs, is moving to one that instead will adapt to the needs of individuals. In this movement, everyone wants to be included.

Here are some predictions and considerations for the workplace of the future.

Disconnection will become a basic need

The complexity within organisations has grown and the use of technology has become pervasive. The need to log off for even a short time is a necessity. New research shows how important it is for employees’ wellbeing that they log off from technology; the continuous multi-tasking caused by always being connected promotes fractured thinking.
Disconnection improves intangible aspects such as creativity, focus and the ability to have relationships. Companies can guide the wellbeing of their employees through places and occasions to disconnect, and to encourage those habits.

Human and AI

In the workplace, artificial intelligence will be the intelligent assistant that will
help us work smarter – from chatbots to algorithms for employee recruitment to real-time answers to HR questions. HR leaders can begin to experiment with AI as a tool to transfer value to the organisation. In the future, it’s predicted HR operations will be outsourced to artificial intelligence.

Office spaces

The presence of different generations and ethnic groups within the workplace
will promote the creation of a hybrid space. People will need to work together, but they will also need to focus to interact in conference calls and virtual meetings in places without distractions.

Company culture shapes office space

The office space is static and has no value without a corporate culture that animates it, drives behaviours, and establishes the interaction between people and space. Culture is the only element that can give value to the physical space. The intangible aspects that guide the corporate culture affect financial results.

Build better workplaces using Big Data

There is an incredible amount of unused data within companies, including from email, instant messages and phone calls. The study of this will allow us to understand how people work and communicate. The workforce science is the new discipline that applies Big Data to HR management, which can enhance communication, innovation, creativity, satisfaction and productivity.

Super-connected company

Experts predict collaboration will be a key business objective in the workplace of the future. The interconnection between individuals has become so important for the innovation of a company that the hierarchical structures of the past are seen as bottlenecks. 

The future is flexible

Companies need to be flexible to offer reasons to choose one job offer over another. The flex-work arrangements are meeting the need for a greater work–life balance. Flex-time is the base. In the future, there will be more disruptive forms of flexibility, such as job sharing and perhaps a four-day working week, as many studies have shown to work less might mean more work gets done.
Companies and employees will need to evolve continuously. Evolution requires that roles such as chief innovation officer will be more critical to drive innovation within the company, as well as outside. As August Jaccaci writes, the CEO could become a chief evolutionary officer, who has the responsibility for the evolution and of the continuous improvement
of the organisation. The HR department will become proactive and focused on business strategy.

Freedom, autonomy and flexibility will define the workplace of the future.  

Here are 4 cool co-working spaces from around the world

  1. Agora Mittelweg, Berlin

    With a vibrant, a silent and a team floor, plus a garden and café, this coworking space has something for everyone.

  2. Hub Australia, Melbourne

    This beautiful site offers all you need to get on with the job, plus an event space, café, full kitchen, gym and showers.

  3. WeWork Metropol, Amsterdam

    Loaded with features and views of the city’s pretty canals. Plenty of work-needed inclusions, plus a mother’s room, networking events, classes, fruit water and coffee.

  4. Hubud, Indonesia

    A bamboo-built, open-plan coworking space in tropical Bali with a strong sense of community, enticing island surrounds, all the office essentials and an organic café.