To support entrepreneurs and youth, Randa Farah – an expert in Happiness at Work, was recently invited to deliver various webinars on topics related to self-leadership, inner strength, stress management, and Boosting your Happy Hormones Naturally. The main purpose was to provide the attendees with inner strengths to maintain a strong mindset and happiness. These webinars were part of the offerings under the new Helping SMEs Build Resilience Program, implemented by Berytech in Lebanon, led by YBI and funded by Google.org.
It is quite befitting that Randa’s family name means happiness in Arabic, and for this International Day of Happiness, Berytech asked her to share some tips to achieve happiness at work… from home!
Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.
The beginnings of a passion
Randa started her passion for pushing the concept of happiness at work after experiencing happiness in one of her previous jobs thanks to a motivating, empowering and amazing British director who knew how to create a happy workplace and motivate his team to create mind-blowing results. She had a completely different experience working in another company in a very unhappy environment. The manager was verbally abusive and unpleasant, made the employees compete against each other, used their ideas without any credit, and created a very toxic environment where fear and hate were eating at everyone.
This contrast and the effect she felt on her and the employees’ well-being, health and happiness, were drastic, especially in her role as HR. So, she made it her mission to create happiness at work.
In 2018, Randa organized the first happiness at work international conference in Lebanon with 400 attendees, 12 international speakers and more than 30 exhibitors.
Today, she owns the exclusivity in Lebanon to certify people to become Chief Happiness Officers.
What is Happiness at Work?
Studies have shown that happiness in life is related to 4 main areas:
- Good romantic relationships
- Good friendships
- Happiness at work
So, happiness at work is the third most important element for happiness in life. Not surprising when we realize that we spend close to 10 hours per day at work!
Most companies make the common mistake between happiness and satisfaction. They provide benefits like a free gym or fruits in the common areas, thinking those will make employees happy; however, this is not entirely the case. Happiness at work can be summed up in results and relationships: employees who feel that they are making a difference in the company, achieving results and not just doing routine work, and those who have good and solid relationships in their teams, are much happier. Companies who are happy, also make more money!
How to achieve happiness when we are working from home
Working from home is a bit more challenging. People are working individually, without human contact, meetings are on video… however, it is also an opportunity to focus on the results, as we are less focused on the presence and schedule of the employees, but more on the end results and productivity.
Companies can do many things to ensure happiness at work from home, here are some tips:
- Encourage online calls with the video on to keep the personal aspect.
- Schedule one-on-one team meetings with each employee to check on them and offer support.
- Be empathetic (as everyone is experiencing multiple challenges).
- Listen to employees and their needs and offer a platform for expression.
- Encourage employees to have a specific schedule and have brain breaks across the day, to maintain good productivity and work-life balance.
- Find creative ideas to express to employees their needs like sending personalized emergency kits to each employee.
- Connect people despite working remotely, randomly connect people in pairs and let them have online coffee together.
- Assign mental health champions and offer coaching sessions for support.
- Bring positivity into the meetings: Set a positive tone from the beginning. Share the good news and the progress of the team. Ask your team or colleagues to share positive facts or situations they experienced during the week.
- Engage them in social activities online on the intranet or social media, for example ask them what they miss most about the office.
- Have a weekly virtual buddy to support each other and callout the good.
- Communicate… a lot! and do it clearly, especially in uncertain time. Creating a happy at-home team means communicating on how the company is supporting everyone: see what your company can offer during these difficult times depending on the resources, create a WhatsApp group or Slack channel just for important company broadcasting.
- Make sure your company leaders are trained on basic knowledge on happiness at work, so they understand that positive emotions, surprises, relationships, and results are critical tools to be used at the moment.
- Create a virtual gratitude jar to train your employees on gratitude and seeing the good in every situation.
- Organize webinars for employees to better deal with the current situation, focusing on results and relationships. Also encourage them to participate to share thoughts, practices and concerns. Ask for the Wellness Programs offered by I Have Learned Academy.
- Engage with nature and greeneries, through a window or deliver plant-at-home kits
- Team building online can be done and can give a different vibe for the employees
- Measure happiness. Introduce a weekly survey to measure company happiness. This is an exercise to show your staff that we are all in this together and it’s ok to have a bad day. But together we are here to cheer each other on and keep a positive attitude. You can check out Heartcount – an Al powered tool, which measures happiness at work.
- Organize virtual happy hour online for drinks and chats.
Working from home is challenging, even more so with the difficult times we are going through. However, keeping the focus and human side of the interaction helps your employees calm down, clear their minds, focus more, and become more productive.
Remember that happy companies make more money, it’s worth the try, isn’t it?
About the Author
Randa Farah is an HR specialist, organizational psychologist, university instructor, and international trainer. She is the founder of I Have Learned Academy (School of Life) and Lebtivity.com (Calendar for Events). Randa is a certified trainer from the UK, Master NLP Practitioner, Certified Happiness at Work Expert from Denmark, as well as a stress management and personal growth specialist.