Happy at Work


Every day for the past thirty plus years of my work life, I have always been thrilled about going to work, thrilled about the challenges that I have faced and thrilled about the opportunities that I have participated in which have changed things for the better. Whilst some consider me fortunate to be embracing such a positive mental model, others do not really believe that this is consistently possible. For those of you who want to share in my experiences, here we go…

Kerry Patterson who is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers stated that “job satisfaction, pride, meaning and happiness are not terms that many people associate with their jobs”. Oddly enough, when I reviewed this list, these are exactly the same elements that I hold very close to my heart, in addition to integrity, honesty, respect and excellence (which are the core values in my organization). Having said all this, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the past thirty years, there have been challenges that have required careful consideration and there have been difficult choices. In spite of all those challenges, I am still a firm believer that one of the ingredients for a highly productive environment is the happiness of the workforce. Happiness of course comes in different forms and shapes.

In order to create a conducive work environment in which workers can be happy and productivity can thrive we need to harness the positive emotions that can be the catalyst for high productivity. Some people are contented to just work for the sake of working. However there are many others who want to derive real enjoyment and satisfaction from their work- they like having a sense of pride with their job. So what do researchers say about the key elements in creating a happy and productive workplace?

First and foremost, we need to allow people to be able to express their opinions in a safe environment (no repercussion). If people are not able to do so, the chances are they will not be happy in their workplace which can impact their morale and eventually their productivity.Secondly, there should be a high-level of accountability in the workforce. If this is not the case then the distribution of work may not be balanced and this can contribute to disharmony in the workplace. Thirdly, our circle of influence is very important (S. Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people). We need to be change agents that can enable improvements and increase motivation in the workplace. Finally, we need to remember the only thing that is constant in life is ‘change’ hence we need to embrace it if we want to stay competitive and highly productive.

This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!

Hjh. Zainab Omar

Hjh Zainab is a HR Professional & Mentor. She was active in the Oil & Gas Industry for the past 30+ years. She has significant business experiences gained in a multi cultural environment in Brunei (BSP, Brunei LNG), Oman, Qatar, and Europe in the areas of HR & Learning and Development. She is passionate about people development and upholds the mantra ‘don’t let others tell you what you can’t do, and show them what you can do.