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The secrets to having a happy team

The secrets to having a happy team

Posted 14th August, 2019 by Sarah

News just in. Online recruitment company Glassdoor has just released its annual list of the companies in the UK that have the happiest workers. Occupying the number one spot is Anglian Water, followed closely by management consultancy firm Bain &Co, supply chain company XPO Logistics, new homes business Bromford and software company Salesforce.

The list has been released at a time when research suggests that a happy workforce is a bit of a Holy Grail for business owners.

Analytics and Consulting company Great Place to Work recently released the results of a study that suggested that only 40 per cent of workers are actually happy at work.

So what’s the secret to having a happy team? tsoHost looks at the latest research into workplace happiness and takes a nosy at the practices of the companies mentioned in Glassdoor’s list for the answers.

The benefits of a happy team

Research suggests that happy team members work harder. The University of Warwick discovered that happy workers tend to be 12 per cent more productive than less happy co-workers.

Studies suggest that this effect is even greater in sales industries. An article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concluded that happy salespeople sold 37 per cent more than their pessimistic counterparts.

Workplace happiness has also been linked to higher levels of employee engagement, which in turn has been shown to lead to all sorts of benefits to businesses – from employee safety to health.

So, with all this considered, we’ll now turn to what it takes to foster a happy team.

Consider allowing a later start time

In 2016, Dr Paul Kelley, a researcher at The University of Oxford, conducted a study into optimal working hours and concluded that, for many people, having to wake up and go to work before 10:00 was akin to torture.

Explaining his conclusion, he explained that starting work before 10:00 negatively affected most people’s natural circadian rhythms.

He said: “We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time…your liver and your heart have different patterns and you’re asking them to shift two or three hours.

“We’ve got a sleep-deprived society. This is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to.”

Offer natural light breaks

At the end of 2018, the stationary supplies company Staples released the results of a commissioned research study that suggested that 40 per cent of UK workers were struggling with poor workplace lighting every day and that this was negatively affecting their wellbeing and happiness.

More specifically, Staples found that 80 per cent of office workers felt that having good lighting in their workspace was important to them, 40 per cent felt like they were having to deal with uncomfortable lighting every day, and 32 per cent believed that better lighting would make them happier at work.

Scientists suggest that just 13 to 15 minutes of exposure to sunshine every day is enough to trigger the release of happy hormones known as endorphins in the body. So, it could be beneficial to allow your staff 15-minute sunshine breaks, where they can nip outside the office on brighter days to get their hit of happy from the sky.

Provide healthy snacks

At the end of 2018, Liberty Games carried out a survey of UK workers to find out what factors could make them happier at work in the following year.

Workers involved in the survey were given a list of things to choose from including the provision of alcoholic drinks and the installation of bean bag areas.

However, the results of the survey showed that healthy snacks were the item that most people believed would cheer them up at work during 2019. 33 per cent of those questioned said that these sort of snacks would make them happier at work.

In addition, 30 per cent said a perfect office climate would make them happier and 26 per cent said a cleaner work environment would help put a smile on their faces.

Foster workplace relationships

According to Harvard Business Review workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. In its article titled ‘We All Need Friends At Work’, the publication referenced a study by Gallup that concluded that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 per cent and that people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.

HBV went on to explain: “Camaraderie is more than just having fun, though. It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together.”

The article continues by explaining that companies can build camaraderie and friendship by hosting events and activities such as corporate challenges, bike to work days, wellness competitions, community service events, and other activities that help build a sense of teamwork and togetherness.

Create a psychologically secure workplace

Google is constantly touted as a great place to work with contented employees. In 2015 its HR team, aka Google’s People Operations, released the results of a major research study that had looked into the question of what makes an effective and therefore happy team.

As part of their investigations, the Google team carried out more than 200 interviews with Google employees. What they concluded was that ‘psychological safety’ played a major role in the success and therefore contentedness of a team and its members. They defined psychological safety as follows: “team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.”

Consider allowing PAW

PAW stands for Pets at Work and, although it might feel like you’re turning your office into a petting zoo, if you allow your staff to bring their dogs to work with them, research suggests that allowing animals in the office can improve morale.

More specifically, a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who were allowed to take their dogs to work reported lower levels of stress throughout the work day had higher levels of job satisfaction, and held a more positive perception of their employer.

Categories: Small Businesses

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