Since we spend most of our waking day at work, it’s important to make
sure our workspaces are happy places. Happiness, like excellence
requires consistent practice. Here’s a look at how we can make our
teams a better place.
Weekly team habits
The first thing to understand is that happiness isn’t a light switch you
can turn on and off. It’s a state of being that comes in waves—there are
always highs and lows. What is critical is to make sure there are more
highs than lows and that your state of wellbeing is trending in the
That said, team happiness is a result of positive habits. In order to
create a happier team, you need to create positive feedback loops.
Happiness is contagious—it can spread between people easily and even
between teams. As people are happier, they do better work, connect with
each other better, and build on each other’s ideas. They succeed and are
recognized for it and go on to succeed more.
The first step in creating a happier team is to have a weekly check-in
meeting. It doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to happen every
week. Beyond discussing assignments for the week, it’s important to
check-in as a team and reflect on how the last week went and what you
can do better. Encourage your teammates to speak up and voice their
concerns, frustrations, and solutions. As you listen to each other and
share more freely, that strengthens the team bond. Weekly team meetings
also enable you to build on successes and sort frustrations before they
The ultimate goal of these meetings isn’t to rehash things on a
superficial level, but rather to find out how team members are really
doing and learn how the team can support one another.
Express gratitude and celebrate wins
It’s important that team members are seen and feel seen. To
that end, one aspect of the team meeting that I highly encourage is for
team members to express gratitude for each other and celebrate wins. As
important as it is to identify mistakes and determine learnings, it’s
equally important to take the moment to show appreciation and celebrate
the good things.
It’s ok to take a moment to celebrate wins—in fact it’s very important.
Wins are an achievement, and recognizing the effort that the team has
put forward goes a long way in creating a better workplace.
Showing appreciation is a seemingly little action, but people work
better in environments where they feel that they are making a positive
contribution. The inverse of this is that failing to recognize good
things and expressing gratitude can lead to resentment and strife
between team members. Team members will end up feeling unappreciated or
unwanted and seek employment elsewhere.
Keep it fresh
Bored people are at a higher flight risk than stressed people (44% vs
11%). In fact, 36% of bored people are likely to leave their jobs in
the next six months. Boredom stems from a lack of emotion, engagement,
or interest. Thus, the cure for boredom is in ‘flow’—the peak experience
that comes from interest. It’s often described as being in the ‘zone’
where time seems to pass swiftly.
To prevent your team from getting bored, make sure to tap into their
interests and strengths. Help them identify the things that they like
doing and they are good at. Not only will playing to their strengths
keep your people engaged, it will also result in better quality of
work—interest leads to better engagement and low risk of boredom.
Outside of work interest, talk to teammates about what interests them.
Finding that common ground can lead to better collaborative
experiences—we always want to work with the people we like.
Measure what matters
From business metrics to smart watches, there are a host of KPIs out
there for everything imaginable. But if happiness is a true priority, we
shouldn’t leave that to chance. Even with positive habits, it
can be difficult to know if things are improving. That’s why when I work
with clients, I create them a Happiness KPI to measure what really
matters. Inevitably every team has setbacks from time to time
and tracking weekly happiness enables you to know how your teams are
doing and do something about it when things aren’t going so well.