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Creating Joy at Work

It sounds simple doesn’t it – creating places of joy at work. However, when you’re navigating organisational challenges as a leader creating a joyful workplace might not seem like a top priority. 

The same factors that contribute to staff burnout also diminish joy at work. While workplace interventions can be put in place to address burnout, these are often reactive. We can take a preventative approach to create positive working cultures, which also are helpful in addressing burnout. 

When staff feel joyful and engaged in their work, they feel physically and psychologically safe. Research indicates a ‘joy gap’ exists, where many employees expect to feel joyous at work but not many do.  Unsurprisingly, this gap has widened since the pandemic. While this might be challenging as a leader, it can create opportunities for leaders and organisations to proactively take positive action. Like anything in the workplace if we want it to be a part of the organisations culture, it needs to remain a priority. Below are some actions, as a leader you can do to create joy in the workplace:

1. Connection

The impact of the pandemic, world events, and changes in people’s workplaces have meant levels of worry and stress for individuals have increased.  A balm to these feelings can be social connection, which is needed now more than ever. Make every contact with colleagues interactive in some way, exploiting even small opportunities to ignite a sense of sociability. Many workers sit in endless meetings (online or in-person).  Rethinking how these could be to build connection can help. 

2. Recognition & Praise

When staff feel they have done our best, receiving recognition for this is vital in contributing to feeling joy. This recognition can be achieved by offering regular praise to acknowledge the contribution someone has made, no matter how small.  It’s not the frequency of the praise that is important but the quality of it.  Therefore, sharing this with individuals or teams will often have more of a positive impact than praising a larger group.  

3. Purpose

An organisation’s purpose and the joy experienced individuals working there are intricately connected. When there is ambiguity about what the purpose is or it isn’t clearly communicated that will negatively affect not only how staff are feeling but the level of contribution they make. Share the positive feedback from those who use your organisation with workers. This can contribute to feelings of joy as well as strengthen organisational purpose.   

Building joy at work is a renewable superpower. When individual workers feel joyful in their work, they will be more energised to do the best they can, which ultimately will improve the performance of the organisation. 

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