Workplaces are turning work into fun by harnessing the power of positive psychology to boost their employees’ mental wellbeing.
When American management academics Professor Joyce Bono and Theresa Glomb studied the effect of the ‘Three Good Things’ happiness intervention (which asks participants to list three things they’re grateful for every day), the large cross-section of healthcare workers in their study experienced lower stress levels and mental and physical complaints after three weeks.
Positive psychology advocate, Alex Dawson, has been on his own journey. After 15 years working in major multinational corporates, he’d grown weary of the lip service paid to happiness in workplaces. Mental wellbeing, he says, was always included in his employers’ vision, mission and goal statements, but when it came to measuring those goals it inevitably disappeared from the picture.
“We’d review all of those other results, but you’d never see a slide saying: ‘Did we have fun?’”
When Dawson asked that question in a meeting, the answer he received was not what he was expecting. The leader of the business replied that “yes, of course we were having fun, because we were hitting all our numbers.”
There, in a nutshell, was what Dawson sees as one of the most damaging notions in the modern workplace.
“The assumption that people are happy and feel supported, nurtured and fulfilled in their work just because the numbers are being met is endemic in the corporate world. It’s fundamentally wrong.”