It’s the end of another year living with the pandemic and with the omicron variant surging, we continue to face further ambiguity. Traditionally, many companies throw some kind of Christmas party before the holidays commence. However, once again, this year office parties will look different with many companies opting to cancel or hold smaller, online get-togethers.
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December 17, 2021 3 mins read
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, team gatherings are still an excellent opportunity to say thank you and improve morale. And, we certainly see an uplift in happiness and wellbeing after an office get-together, but does it last?
Happiness is a Habit
The answer — unfortunately — is no. The bump in morale doesn’t last. Happiness scores tend to dip when people return in the new year.
This graph represents one of our client’s wellbeing scores, before and after a party. Prior to the party, their scores were in the mid 70s. The party caused a spike to 90 before dropping back to the 70’s again, a week later. This trend is fairly common — we’ve seen it repeatedly across a wide range of clients.
So, while it’s great to have a party (and we certainly encourage you to have one safely), it’s also important to think about what would make for a Happy New Year.
Aristotle once said, “Excellence is a habit.” To that, we add, “Happiness is a habit.” If you want your people to be happy at work, then happiness needs to be a priority and something that is worked towards weekly. Happy teams don’t just materialize; they are built through consistently checking in on your people and asking them how their week has been. It comes from reflecting on things that go well and things that can be improved.
Happier teams are created when people of all levels take charge of their own fate. When team members and leaders both own their experience at work and commit to making their workplace happier, real change happens. This commitment is vital — while there will be inevitable ups and downs, the trend will move upwards.
Through the Friday Pulse platform and analyzing client data, we’ve repeatedly seen how a weekly pulse check and weekly team meetings create a happier workplace. We know from tracking weekly employee wellbeing numbers that low team morale can result in losses of approximately $1,000,000 per year (based on a 200-person business). However, even a modest investment in employee wellbeing through a platform like Friday Pulse can translate to a 7.5% increase in productivity. A happy team that enjoys what they are doing reaps a massive return on happiness and a great ROI too — as much as a 5X return in year one.
In a normal year, the average UK company spends approx. £80 per person on a Christmas party. But, for the same amount, you could get a whole year of supporting team happiness with a lasting effect on wellbeing.
The draw of a fresh start
The allure of new year’s resolutions is that it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. Yet, they also have a bad reputation, and it’s not entirely undeserved. According to Katy Milkman, Wharton professor and author of How to Change, over a third of resolutions fail before the end of January, and more than 80% fail overall. But as she points out, there’s a silver lining here — 20% of these goals succeed.
Why new year and not just any other day of the year? With all things being equal, New Year’s Day is probably the same as any other day, albeit one with a potential hangover. But significant days like the first of the year, a birthday or a holiday are temporal landmarks that offer a fresh start. These days naturally cause people to evaluate their lives and seriously consider new directions. That, in turn, results in an extra motivational boost towards achieving a better goal.
How Friday Pulse can help
By adopting good habits, workplace happiness is well within your reach. So, why not make lasting happiness a key goal for your organization 2022.
Friday Pulse is a tool designed to track the happiness scores of your people on a weekly basis. The data we gather offers real-time insight for senior leaders so that they know how their people are really doing and identify any problem areas that can be improved in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Teams are the instruments of change in a company. Changes in their microcultures are more likely to shape you company’s culture than anything else. In today’s Covid-19 world, flexible team sizes are a must, and small teams are how companies will be able to climb the resilience curve.
Where once the average response to “How have you felt at work this week?” was happy, the new normal is now “Ok”. The costs of a workforce becoming just “Ok” about work can be high but connecting with your team in better ways may be a feasible solution.