Happy Work, Happy Life

Right now, the way people live and work is changing before our eyes— forcing businesses to pivot to new, digital, and remote ways of conducting business. Despite all of the changes happening globally, one thing is still true: work can and should be a source of happiness.

The Happiness Research Institute (HRI) in Copenhagen conducts an ongoing study that drills into the sources of personal and professional contentment. Number one on the list is a sense of purpose. Purpose contributes twice as much to an individual’s job satisfaction as the runner-up, which is having a high-quality manager, The Atlantic reports.

The World Happiness Report ranks nations on well-being. As you can imagine, factors affecting people’s happiness vary widely and depend on a range of individual and shared conditions. Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking notes the close connection between happiness and a sense of purpose. The good life is not a life of leisure, but rather one filled with meaning and striving toward a goal: “We need a sense of purpose,” Wiking says.

“As I get further into happiness research, I find there are some clear patterns across the globe when it comes to drivers of happiness and satisfaction. That goes for outside the workplace as well as inside.”

Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking

People who say they have a sense of purpose are more likely to participate in their community at work and in their personal lives. Their quality of life scores are higher. They are healthier. They have fewer accidents. They maintain perspective. They stay out of debt. They laugh more. They have vibrant relationships. They are, simply, happier.

Wiking and his team in Copenhagen are concered to know that 10% of people do not see an overall purpose in their lives.

“It’s worrying for two reasons. One, it’s a strong statement to say I don’t see a purpose with my life. To me that is quite alarming,” said Wiking. “Second, I suspect that the actual number is even higher! Remember, this is a survey, and I think there is some stigma attached to admitting you do not see a purpose in your life.”

The good news is, there are shared characteristics for the people who do see a purpose or meaning with their lives. They are much more inclined to take part in community work: 50% of them participate in volunteer activities. And, in part due to this community involvement, they are happier. It is a powerful cycle.

So how can business leaders leverage the idea of purpose to boost the engagement of their people at work?

Start with why, Wiking advises. Make it clearer, what the overall purpose of the organization is. How are we making the world a better place. And clarify for the individual how he or she is helping in accomplishing that goal.

You will not be surprised that at WeSpire, we suggest a science-backed, behavioral approach, with a spot of fun and friendly competition. Community programs can be shared across diverse teams via a digital platform packed with appealing custom content.

Interested in learning more about the WeSpire platform? Connect with us for a quick demo.

Are you ready to build a better working world?