What makes people happy at work?
The average employee spends 8.8 hours per day at work- as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics- over one-third of the entire day! These team members are key to creating a creative and productive work environment, making worker happiness a priority for success. In today’s workplace, over 63% of employees are not engaged, reporting that they are “unhappy and unmotivated”. Certified as a Great Place to Work, UE.co prides itself on knowing how to make our employees happy at work. Here’s why 94% of our team considers UE.co a great place to work, and the ways that you can meet employee (or your own!) needs to increase overall happiness in the workplace.
Based on research conducted through the Harvard Business Review, Worker satisfaction boils down into four core needs: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. These areas encompass an employee’s desire for recognition or belonging (emotional), feeling of impact within the workplace (physical), ability to progress (mental), and connection to a greater purpose (spiritual).
Meeting these core needs can be easier than you think, and the impact will be noticeable through higher levels of engagement, increased loyalty, and an overall positive atmosphere.
The desire to belong is a large part of what makes us human. We all long to be accepted through relationships that make us a member of something bigger than ourselves, whether that is with our family, friends, or co-workers. So, how can we work towards meeting this employee need in the workplace? The best place to start is with recognition. Member recognition comes in many forms, and it can create a large impact around emotional satisfaction when implemented correctly.
At UE.co, every new member of the team is introduced and received by the entire office, and 100% of employees reported that they immediately felt welcome when first joining the company community. Some of the other popular ways to provide recognition involve employee awards, acknowledgment of professional and personal achievements, or personalized celebrations and thank you’s. In a recent study on the effects of recognition on employee engagement, 86% of workers stated that receiving a simple “thank you” from upper management increased positive feelings of accomplishment. Personalized celebrations include recognition of birthdays, praise for reaching individual goals, or work anniversaries.
As an employee, it is important to allow your co-workers the opportunity to acknowledge you as well. Reach out to your boss, take pride in your work, and celebrate your own achievements. Your positive energy will attract others, gain you deserved personal recognition, and make you more happy at work.
Similar to our emotional needs, the human spirit fuels our motivation and our understanding of purpose.
Many people view the meaning of “purpose” in a way that is seemingly unattainable, waiting for that life-changing impact to happen. However, purpose can be a lot simpler than that, yet the outcome will be just as transformative. Knowing your values, and acting on those values provides all that we need to be of purpose to ourselves, our community, and the world around us. Finding our values comes from learning through experience, and understanding those things that make us happy.
At UE.co, our values are clear and defined. Continuous Improvement, People Incubation, and Chasing Perfection are values that begin to define who we are, and how we provide purpose to our community. Through defining and providing meaningful values, employees are provided with clarity from the beginning to formulate their own workplace values that align with a greater purpose. Through value transparency, businesses and their team members are able to derive meaning and significance in their work, corresponding to 2x greater employee job satisfaction and engagement.
Fulfilling this need is as simple as leaving a room better than when you found it, with your presence alone. Offering somebody insight or expertise, presenting the office with a new suggestion, or proposing a lunch spot- anything that increases impact in the workplace is a concrete way to increase employee happiness.
Along with impact, physical needs encompass a level of focus and effort put into the workday. For employees, designated areas to work beyond the desk can be beneficial for a change of atmosphere and a chance to refocus. Coffee and snack bars, company-wide events in the office, and opportunities for recharging the mind are all valuable in order to create a productive work environment that employees thrive in. How do you recharge?
Some of the ways UE promotes employee engagement is through our monthly culture events and our weekly company-wide breakfasts!
When employees mental needs are not met, the workplace can become draining, unproductive, and problematic. Out of all four of the core needs for employees, mental fulfillment rests as the most important.
Specifically, providing ways for employees to feel valued in their work, then tracking and acknowledging progress allows for constructive criticism and improvement, providing a path towards advancement. Some of the best ways to do this from a management position are to provide guidance, be approachable, and encourage work-life balance. More than 80% of employees feel that companies expect too much from too few people, so breaking down this barrier through clarity and transparency encourages healthy workplace practices.
Meeting employee needs can be time-consuming, but by thoroughly investing effort in each of the core areas, businesses inadvertently increase company productivity, financial performance, and levels of satisfaction. All you have to do is start.
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