The Happiness Advantage


This post has been written by Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore. Ms. Andrew believes that happiness increases business outcome in several ways. Read on to find out.

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Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage makes the case for the fact that “the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce”.  His research of a decade shows that happiness raises nearly every business outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as countless health and quality of life improvements.

Happiness-AdvantageIn an experiment to test the ROI of investing in happiness at a Big 4 accounting firm, he found that a brief 3 hour training on positive psychology and a non-mandatory invitation to create a positive habit for 21 days created a high ROI not only in the short-term, but in the longer term as well.

He suggests that we can begin to do two things on our own.

First, to recognize that happiness is an advantage at work. This will encourage us to seek happiness in the present instead of waiting for a future success. As a result, our brain will have more resources necessary to accomplish work.

Second, we can literally train our brain for higher levels of happiness at work by creating habits. These change the pattern through which our brain views work.

  • Gratitude Journal – to write down 3 new things that we are grateful for each day;
  • Positive Experience – to write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience that we’ve had in the past 24 hours;
  • Exercise – for atleast 10 minutes a day;
  • Mediate – for atleast 2 minutes every day, focusing on the breath going in and out;
  • Random acts of kindness – to write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on the team.

We can take the time to be grateful, focus on positive experiences, exercise, meditate and do random acts of kindness in order to create The Happiest Workplace.

The UP Experience

Shawn Achor is a lecturer at Harvard University, where he has studied with pioneers in the field of positive psychology. He is the co-designer of Harvard’s ‘Happiness’ course, one of the most popular in Harvard history. This article is adapted from his blog The Happiness Dividend, HBR Blog Network, June 23, 2011.

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