When you think you’re your own minister of state for happiness
By LAY HSUAN, LIM
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently appointed Ohood Al Roumi as the country’s first-ever minister of state for happiness.
You heard it right. It’s a special portfolio in the UAE leadership to align and drive government policy in creating social good and satisfaction.
The pursuit of happiness
The growing global interest in pursuing happiness probably stemmed from Bhutan’s determined pursuit to measure national progress in terms of gross national happiness (GNH), instead of gross domestic product, as reflected in their famous 2010 GNH Index.
It has even led the United Nations to decree March 20th as International Day of Happiness since 2012.
In the World Happiness Report 2015, released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), one of the factors used to rank level of happiness among countries include social capital; besides subjective well-being and economic development.
Social capital is a measure of the quality of interpersonal relations, involving trust, honesty and mutual support, whereby these will eventually increase mental and physical well-being.
The higher the social capital, the more individuals are willing to “sacrifice” for the greater good. This will likely result in higher economic productivity and greater mutual care.
Social capital in organisation
At the organisational level, the term “social capital” is relevant too. Happy and engaged employees are always good for the company. The positive vibe and energy in such organisations are conducive for creativity and camaraderie.
With camaraderie, comes close and honest relationships among each other, and it shows when employees become the company’s greatest advocates outside of working environment.
Happy employees also generally enjoy better health, and that itself contributes to company productivity because there will be fewer cases of absenteeism.
In a “win-win” scenario, as the company puts in effort to invest in employees’ happiness and well-being, you will begin to see them more willing to go the extra mile for the company too.
Susan David, who wrote an article entitled How Happy Is Your Organization?, listed some pertinent questions for business leaders to ask themselves:
- Do my employees laugh?
- Do they enjoy their relationships and their environment at work?
- Do they get to use their ingenuity?
- Are they in the right roles?
- Do they understand the organisation’s purpose?
- Do they feel like they are a part of something that matters?
In his Being Happy workshop last November 2015, Eugene Tee, a senior lecturer with the department of psychology at a local university, likens us to cultivating happiness as how we tend a garden.
The principles behind sowing seeds of gratitude, limiting unhealthy comparisons, savouring the moment, pursuing meaningful goals, building connections and being part of something greater are applicable in our personal life, and at the workplace too.
If you have not tended to this “garden of happiness” at the workplace in a while, it’s high time that you do. If you do not have this garden at all, start planning for one now.
Happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower. —John Harrigan
Did you know?
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand