6 Principles for Finding Happiness In the Work Place

What is the attitude of companies in the Czech Republic towards happiness and creating a meaningful approach to work?

Expats.cz Staff Jason Pirodsky

Written by Expats.cz StaffJason Pirodsky Published on 06.11.2018 11:12:31 (updated on 06.11.2018) Reading time: 4 minutes

This article text was provided by Novartis.

Is happiness in the workplace something ephemeral or can it be achieved in reality? What is the attitude of companies in the Czech Republic towards happiness and creating a meaningful approach to work? How do potential job candidates judge whether a company is really a “happy” place to work? Topics about happiness at work will be discussed at the Purpose & Happiness at work seminar, organized by Novartis Global Service Center on November 20. You can sign up here.

On average we spend about a third of our lives at work. But many people believe that life only really happens outside of working hours. This attitude towards life positions happiness as something we indulge in during a well-deserved holiday, at the weekends or even in retirement.

This traditional approach towards work is changing, particularly for the Millennial generation who have a different view of what work should mean to them. Work for them is not just a means of subsistence, they also want to use their talents and education to do something useful, find friends and create meaning in their lives.

According to psychologists, young people have a greater tendency to engage in the meaningfulness of their work because they are forced to adapt to the changing needs of the labor market to quickly learn new things. So what advice is there for a job seeker who wants to not only earn a living, but also develop self-realization and satisfaction through their work? Michal Šrajer, an expert on happiness in professional life, says he/she should consider the following factors

Money or happiness?

This relationship is complicated. A certain level of income is needed for employees to feel financial security. However, research has shown that there is a level of income after which happiness no longer increases with more money.

What does a meaningful job look like?

There are certain jobs that make a fundamental difference to people’s lives and so enhance feelings of happiness for employees doing that job. For example, a job that helps people improve and maintain their health is one where employees can observe directly the beneficial impacts that they are having. But there are many more abstract jobs whose benefits are harder to spot. These differ depending on the values that a company stands by and whether it adheres to these in reality.

Happiness at work and happiness at home

“You cannot be happy at work and depressed at home,” says Michal Šrajer. There are studies showing that companies which have been built on the values of happiness are able to influence the private lives of their employees. It is clear that working in a positive environment has an impact not only on family life but also on the broader communities in which we live.

Is it better to seek happiness abroad?

The progressive Scandinavian countries, in particular, Denmark, are further ahead in this “happy business” concept. On the other hand, southern European countries, where the more traditional model of work-life separation continues to apply, are behind the trend. According to Michal Šrajer, firms in the Czech Republic are at the European average in terms of happiness, but the number of entrepreneurs who want to run their businesses not only in terms of profits but on people feeling good is undoubtedly growing. As such, it is no longer necessary to travel abroad to find happiness in your workplace.

Any business is good for me so long as it’s “happy”

Both the candidate and the company must carefully consider whether they are a good fit for each other. Michal Šrajer recommends a simple rule in the form of a question: would you want to go with a potential boss/colleague for a drink? Would you like to spend time with him/her outside your job? If the answer is ‘yes’ for both parties, there is a presumption that cooperation will work. If there are any doubts, it is better to look elsewhere. Happiness at work is not abstract, it derives from the real relationships of people who get along well together.

What companies are the most successful?

The ones that have an atmosphere of psychological safety in place, as Google discovered in its research. “A distinguishing feature is trust exhibited among team members: I do not have to worry about asking a silly question or showing that I do not know something. No one will make me feel inferior. With a strong team chemistry, employees can save 30-50% of the mental energy that would otherwise go towards building a certain facade and pretense of infallibility,” reveals Michal Šrajer.

Purpose & Happiness at work

Michal Šrajer will talk more about the purpose and benefits of finding happiness at work at the Purpose & Happiness at work seminar, which will be held with the Novartis Global Service Center in Prague on Tuesday, November 20.

Novartis, which employs hundreds of employees from across the world at its global service center in Prague, puts employee satisfaction at the top of its agenda. “Our team is very diverse, with more than 65 nationalities – each person represents a certain view and experience,” says Detlef Geigle, director of the Novartis Global Service Center in Prague, which besides diversity also emphasizes the values of inclusion and respect for diversity and different opinions.

“This style of leadership assures us that every member of the team is free to express their views, thereby contributing to the bringing in of new ideas,” he explains. “It’s great to come to work every day knowing that what we do really has a profound sense of worth.”

Part of the event will be a presentation of job opportunities that Novartis offers in Prague to experienced experts as well as university students and graduates.

You can find more details about the Purpose & Happiness at work, including registration, here.

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