According to Jasper Bergink, 100,000 hours. 6,000,000 minutes. 360,000,000 seconds, is roughly the time of our life that we spend at work. And research shows, that not many people think of work as a potential source of happiness.
But a stimulating job can be a source of flow, of pride, and of happiness. For Zappos, happiness is a part of their company identity. Founder Tony Hsieh wanted to be the retailer with the highest customer satisfaction, and to achive this he had to reach a high level of job satisfaction for his employees, by HR policies that are designed by a Chief Happiness Officer. And it seems that it works.
Organizational psychologists have researched the link between job satisfaction (or happiness at work) and job performance. Though initial research suggested a surprisingly weak correlation, more recent studies found a solid link, especially for jobs with more complex tasks: the happier you are, the better you perform.
A study found a link between work engagement and vigor of an employee at the end of their working day and their happiness level before going to sleep. And has spillover effect onto to their partner.
Many companies are designing happiness policies – free lunch, flexible working hours and other benefits to reward staff and show their appreciation.
Apart from Zappos, software firm Atlassian pursues the happiness at work avenue , where engineers have creation days to solve problems together in a team, and Google or Facebook, where working conditions are shaped to allow for autonomy and creativity and are part of the mix to retain talent.
According to Jasper Bergink, happiness at work is correlated with higher staff retention, less sick days, less accidents on the work floor, and better productivity and customer satisfaction.
From the perspective of management, one could argue that policies to raise the happiness of employees are pursued at the detriment of the shareholder, and that it means that simply too much is being spent on employees.
Finance professor Alex Edmans disagrees and in a paper, he analysed the relation between happiness at work and subsequent profits on stock exchanges, and concluded that after companies reached high levels of happiness at work, their long-term stock market profits are about 2.3%-3.8% higher than other firms.
Nic Marks of Happiness Works, contests that a happier employee is a happier employee, which is great in itself, but also a better company. It starts with asking people what makes them happy, what frustrates them, what keeps them going.