At the end of this week, after multiple changes to the date, my son and his partner are getting married! It’s an event we are looking forward to for many reasons, not least of which is the opportunity for our family to come together. We enjoy each other’s company, it will lift our spirits, and I suspect will have a positive effect on our wellbeing particularly as restrictions are being eased this week.
There is a good deal of evidence emerging of the impact of joy on productivity, health and the reputation of the brands where workers are experiencing it. A study conducted in 2015 by the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that happier employees are more productive by an average of 12% and, in some cases, up to 20% more than a control group.
A place where people enjoy what they are doing or the environment in which they work are:
- More productive
- More engaged with their colleagues
- More likely to talk about their company to others (a positive effect on brand reputation)
- Experiencing an increase in the ability to learn
Not all aspects of work are enjoyable. However, research by the Mayo Clinic indicates that if even 20% of what we do is invigorating or life giving then the incidence of burn out goes down significantly.
As leaders you have to think about the kind of working environment that you are creating for those that you lead. The roles that people have cannot be 100% about a person’s strengths. However, as research by the Mayo Clinic indicates, to be something that is life giving rather than draining it needs to have parts that fit the person and will engender joy.
Teams can be brilliantly productive when there is a joy in the collaboration. As you look back on your team experiences you will have more positive views of some than others. One thing is for sure, if the team environment is going to be one that has higher productivity then fun will be a component of that experience. Environments like this do not happen by accident. Intentional thought must be given to create places where team members enjoy working with one another.
“Enjoy”- a word we often say to those who tell us about an event or celebration they are going to attend. At its root it is a French word which means literally to be in joy. As I was researching this topic, I came across the following quote:
“Joy; the kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.” David Steindl-Rast
This is a challenge. It challenges the way we think. At an individual level, thinking about things that bring us joy changes our perspective on the present. The feelings associated with those events are brought to the fore.
This quote brings focus to the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is a feeling, a mood that sometimes we have and sometimes we don’t. Joy, however, is a decision. The same set of circumstances will be approached completely differently by two people. Some people seem to have tapped into a reservoir of joy that enables them to keep going in the most adverse of situations. These people affect the atmosphere around them. Their joy is contagious.
What is it that brings you joy? How can you focus more on those things?
As restrictions ease, in England at least, we have to remember that to be in joy is not just a feeling generated by what is happening around us. It is a decision, where we choose to focus on the opportunity for joy as once again we are able to interact with friends, family and colleagues. Yes, we need to enjoy aspects of our work because that is the fuel for our life. We also need to remember that it is possible to be in joy despite what happens to us.
It is interesting that much of our joy is generated around our interaction with other people. I am going to enjoy being able to have time with family and friends this weekend. I hope you are too.
Whatever you have experienced or are about to experience remember to be in joy.
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash