21 elements of a happy workplace

Happy employees are the driving force in your organization; inspiring others and spreading a great atmosphere. Happy people perform better, are more motivated and experience less stress. They are more engaged, have more individual responsibility and are working on the best results.

In a happy work environment, people are happier, healthier and more productive.

A happy workplace is where people are doing meaningful work, in a company culture with high levels of freedom, responsibility, and trust.

If you want to realize your organizational goals, investing in a creating a happy workplace for your talents is essential. In this blog post, I have selected 21 elements of workplaces that bring more happiness to the workplace.

Of course, employee happiness is depending on many factors and needs to be seen in a holistic approach to your company culture. In general, though, the literature and case studies tell us that the workplaces where people love to work have quite of few of below elements in place, which is the reason that I have put some of them together for you today.

Feel free to add elements or remove or adjust others, this list is not complete but will give you an overview and a base to work from to create a happy workplace of your own.

Elements of a happy workplace:

1. Defined the Higher Purpose, or WHY, of your organization.
This is where it starts. Work is no longer a way to just make a living but is actually a way of living.

Work should add value to life and have a purpose. The company goals are aimed at a mutual higher purpose. Make sure to have your mission defined in a very inspirational way. Having a higher, common goal is one of the best ways to motivate innovative professionals.

2. Trust
In a Happy Workplace, people are trusted and treated as the responsible adults they are. If you feel you cannot really trust your employees that they are doing all they can, in the best way they can, or even try to act on their own behalf, there is a trust issue in your culture that should be addressed.

3. Freedom
Talents can work from anywhere and are stimulated to have a healthy work/life balance. Your team can work on the projects or tasks they choose or prioritize on, without being micro-managed.

4. Responsibility
With these high levels of freedom come high levels of responsibility. Your employees should take responsibility for their results and added value. In the 20th working culture, the paradigm is based on the idea that employees cannot be trusted and therefore should be controlled. This is no longer valid in the 21st-century workplace with highly motivated professionals that are driven by purpose and intellectual challenges. Make sure that your employees feel responsible for their results so you can give them the freedom that they need.

5. Build real connections
Colleagues and peers are aimed at building real connections between team members, clients and partners. Just as work should be meaningful, connecting with people should be meaningful. Connecting with others make us happy.

6. Transparent
The company is transparent on goals, results and salaries. Ban politics, secrets and any other element that shows distrust in your employee’s loyalty or intelligence.

7. Support growth
Management and peers are aimed at stimulating growth and supporting team members to develop themselves on both a professional as a personal level.

8. Autonomy
Your innovative professional needs high levels of autonomy. You have hired them for a reason: for the skills they possess. So, forget everything you know as a manager and let them do what they can do best.

9. Manage on results
Manage on output instead of on input. It is not the time they put in, the hours or presence in the office or behind their laptop. In the end, it is the result that counts.

10. Give them instant feedback
An annual performance cycle is no longer in place. It doesn’t make sense at all. Millennials want instant feedback; they want to hear right away what was good and what wasn’t so good.

11. Support for life-work balance
As a manager, your role is to support your employee in being as happy and productive as possible. Making sure the life-work balance is right for the right person (it could be different for different people).

12. Connect the team
A sense of connectivity and belonging is important for people to feel happy and inspired. Also, innovation can only take place when people are connected and working together. A big part of your role as manager is to connect your team.

13. Manage on the higher goal.
This is the inspiring mission that you have identified before. Not only is this higher goal inspiring, it also serves as a compass. It will help you to connect the team, set the framework and direction.

14. Leadership on all levels
Leadership should not only be part of the management team but can flow freely through the organization and is based on added values, skills and expertise needed for the project.

15. Unlimited Holiday Policy
You have high levels of trust and responsibility in place, your teams sometimes work long days to finish projects, the line between work and life is getting thinner. Does it really still make sense to keep track off individual holiday records?

16. Invest in experiences, not in things.
There is research that says that investing in experiences will make you more happy than investing in things. This is an awesome idea to bring into your company.

17. Support working remotely in everyway you can
With a growing remote workforce, it is important that they have the means to do so. Make sure the technical tools are in place and technology supports your talents to work from anywhere.
For example, pay for co-working spaces around the world. You are saving on expenses on offices after all. Also, this has the added benefit that your team members can interact with others, while building their network and learn new things that will bring value to your company in the end.

18. Have good communication tools in place.
Make sure you do the right things with the right people at the right moment. There are many tools that you can use to project management and connect with your team.

19. Have (virtual) meet-ups
Do this very regular but at least once a week. It could be in a physical location, a virtual environment. Make sure people can also connect on a more personal level.

20. Have a yearly company retreat
Make sure to get your team or company together once a year for a teambuilding retreat. This is the moment where people can connect with each other and build solid relations. In this meeting, you can discuss the strategy, kick-start projects or work on strengthening your work culture.

Oh, and your yearly company retreat is also the best time where you can….

21. Ask your employees what they want
When creating a happy workplace, don’t forget to ask the most important person in the (virtual) office what they actually want and need. If you have cultivated a culture where people have high levels of autonomy and responsibility, they will provide you with the most valuable feedback.

Putting these elements of a happy workplace in place will make your company not only happier but also more successful.