Alexander Kjerulf is de oprichter en ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ van Woohoo inc en expert op het gebied van geluk op het werk. Hij schrijft boeken over ‘happiness at work’, geeft workshops en presentaties op conferenties in meer dan 30 landen en werkt voor bedrijven als Hilton, Microsoft, LEGO, IKEA, Shell, HP and IBM. Binnenkort spreekt hij op 10 en 11 juni op de jaarlijkse conferentie ‘Happiness at work’ in Spanje, dat vorig jaar 1800 bezoekers trok. Hieronder een interview met hem dat onlangs verscheen op World HR Net.
Ques 1. You have been one of the most prominent advocates of “Happiness at work”. Tell us about this novel philosophy, what led you to the concept of inspiring people to acknowledge this fact?
Ans. Work takes up such a central part in our lives. We spend more of our waking hours at work than on anything else. And yet, many people are not happy at work. They work only because they have to, not because they want to.
I want to change that. I want to create a world where happiness at work is the rule and not the exception. I want to help workplaces become happy, so that people love to be there and can do great work!
Ques 2. How do you think happiness affects the overall productivity of an organization?
Ans. We know from many studies that happy companies make more money. This is because happy employees are more productive, more creative, more helpful and more motivated. They are also in better health and stay with the company longer.
Ques 3. In today’s cut throat competitive world, do you agree that it’s difficult to derive happiness in the medley of work pressure, goal setting, ROI and the like?
Ans. It is of absolutely harder to create a happy workplace in tough economic times or when the company is facing external pressure like string competition or rapid change in the market.
However, happiness is even more crucial in hard times, because only happy employees have the optimism, energy, creativity and openness we need to make the company succeed despite the challenges.
Ques 4. Happiness at work may reflect complacency. What is your take on this school of thought?
Ans. This is completely wrong. In fact, happy people are much more likely to give up in the face of challenges, because they are more pessimistic and have less energy and resilience.
Ques 5. Could you please share three simple steps to bring in work life happiness?
Ans. Step one is to choose happiness. Many people are stuck in the mistaken belief that work is stressful and unpleasant and just accept that. Don’t! If you’re unhappy at work, there’s something wrong.
Step two is to know yourself. Based on your best previous work experiences, what is it that makes you happy at work?
Step three is to do something. You can’t just wait for other people to make you happy, you have to take responsibility for your own happiness at work. And if you are not happy at work, there are only two options: Do something to become happy in the job you have or quit and find a new job where you can be happy.
Ques 6. Would you like to share any innovative HR initiative that a company took up to keep their employees motivated and happy?
Ans. The important thing for HR is to stop focusing on the traditional perks like gyms, massages, etc.
What really makes us happy at work is much simpler: It’s Results and Relationships. Results is about letting people do great work and appreciating them for it. Relationships is about making sure that people feel valued and connected to the workplace.
Ques 7. Work pressure, lack of appreciation, multitasking and still be happy. Easier said than done?
Ans. When work pressure is high, it’s even more vital to focus on results and relationships, so people know that they’re doing good work together with good people. This is difficult but necessary
Ques 8. A simple question here. How do you stay happy or what makes you happy?
Ans. I personally am happy at work when I can see that my work has an impact. When we inspire companies to become happy workplaces that are actually good for their employees – that makes me proud and happy!
Ques 9. Please share your motto in life.
Ans. “Try to leave every place you go to a little better than it was before.”
Ques 10. What makes you sad!
Ans. Unfairness and injustice. When I see people being treated unfairly (at work or in society) it makes me angry and sad.
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