Happiness at Work

Happiness at Work

We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears a revisit—we spend at least one third of our life at the office. (Literal or metaphorical, of course, if 2020 has taught us anything.) So when we discuss something like motivation, or happiness, or goal-setting, it’s virtually impossible to ignore the application of these constructs in the workplace. Today, let’s take a look at happiness at work—what it is, why it matters, and how we can cultivate it. (And most importantly—how we can achieve it so we don’t need to crack a beer open the second we clock out. You feel me?)


First, what does happiness look like at the workplace? To be certain, we can’t tell you specifically what will yield happiness in your work life, but we have a few specific markers that we know generally lead to a happy employee:


We find happiness at work when:

  • We enjoy doing the tasks we do day to day

  • We feel positive about the people we are working with

  • We feel well compensated for our work

  • We have room for growth and skill development

  • We feel respected and acknowledged at work


And we have evidence that happiness in the workplace has a direct impact on productivity, both on the individual and company level. Achor, of The Happiness Advantage, found evidence that company sales and productivity could both increase by a third when employees report overall happiness at the office. When we consider it that way, why wouldn’t every employer focus on company happiness above all else? (In fact, folks like Google have “Chief Happiness Officers”—CHO’s—for this very reason.)



Not only does happiness increase productivity because people are more motivated to work, but it increases company productivity for health reasons; happiness reduces stress, and less stressed employees have less risk for cardiac-arrest, substance use disorders, hypertension, and more. (There’s an Elle Woods quote about happy people in this equation, somewhere… I’ll get it eventually.) Of important note for those of us here at Reframe—focus on substance use and substance misuse prevention, aka making sure your people are happy so they don’t need to use substances to cope, yields more work productivity and job loss to hangovers. It’s alllllll connected, isn’t it?


We could continue diving into the research, but for brevity’s sake, let’s just agree that happy employees are more productive, creative, and efficient at the office. But what if we don’t have all of those good things above built into our office culture—can we still find happiness in our job?


Yes, we can.