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It’s The International Week of Happiness at Work. Let’s Celebrate! 

International Week of Happiness at Work 2021

If you happen to be in Paris, Germany, or the UK you may have noticed one of the 800 screens around reminding you it’s the International Week of Happiness Sept 20th to 26th.

Does this matter?

If you consider that you spend roughly one-third of your life at this place called work, then doing work that makes you feel fulfilled, provides meaning and is something you look forward to even more than your paycheck, then yes. It matters. A lot.

Far from being a woo-woo concept, studies have shown that those workplaces that have a positive culture of greater wellbeing and happiness are more profitable, up to 13% more productive and are attractive to top talent.


What’s not to love about feeling happier?

Before you roll your eyes at me, ask yourself this.

  • How do you feel when you’re fully immersed in an important piece of work you can see is going to make a positive difference to others?
  • How do you feel when you’re selected to work on a project that is in your area of expertise?
  • How do you feel when your organisation is recognised for the social impact it’s had for your community, that you contributed to?

This is not about pursuing happiness for happiness’ sake. Rather it is the happiness generated by those activities you do that spark more positive emotion, put you in a more positive state of mind, open to new ideas, creative and wanting to achieve more.

The last couple of years have been enormously challenging. By setting the intention to stay curious, to learn and make sense of what has happened to be best prepared for what comes next facilitates the question, “What’s possible to do better, grow, develop and make the world a better place?


Here are five tips for creating more Happiness at Work.

1. Start your day as you want it to continue. Before launching yourself into the hurly burl of everything, press pause and take a moment to enjoy that first cup of tea or coffee or water. Follow your morning ritual. Whether a brief meditation practice, yoga stretches or walk in the park these activities serve to boost your mood and prime you to think well.

2. Look for the opportunity to show kindness to a work colleague (shout them a coffee) or ask if they need help if they are looking overwhelmed.  This can start a ripple of office-based generosity and cooperation. Why not start your day with a grade 5 social connection? Put on your biggest, warmest, and most authentic smile (that automatically boosts your mood) engage in eye contact, share a cheery “Good Morning,” ask a question about them (“how are you?” is a good place to start) and if appropriate (physical distancing requirements and social/cultural etiquette to be considered here) a handshake, elbow bump, hi-five or a hug.

3. Seek progress not perfection. The one thing that makes us feel all that hard work has been worth it is to see you’ve made some progress, even if it’s a small amount. Amabile and Kramer in their book The Progress Principle found that even making small increments of meaningful progress is all it takes to boost your motivation and enjoyment of your work.

4 Be grateful for what you have achieved each day and the people you’ve had the opportunity to work with. We’re lumbered with a negativity bias which means we tend to focus on what hasn’t gone well, or that one spelling mistake we didn’t pick up before you hit “publish.” By reminding yourself of the good things large and small that happened in your day, you stay more optimistic and confident in your own capabilities.

5. Be a satisfycer. If you’ve worked hard all day but there’s more to be done, the temptation can be to stay late again. Let’s be real. There will always be more to be done but this doesn’t require you to be the sacrificial lamb reducing your health and happiness. Enough is enough and if you can delegate a few tasks to others to ease the burden that helps to alleviate the work pressure that can otherwise sap your energy and happiness, then do it. Enough is about boundaries and giving yourself the downtime needed to fully restore, spend time with those important people in your life and feel happy about the life you lead. As Barry Schwartz and Sonja Lyubomirsky remind us, happiness is a choice. 

Happiness at work. It matters. It’s good for your health and your relationships and when you’re happier at work, it leads to creating greater happiness at home.


How do you create more happiness at work for yourself and your work colleagues?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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