Tag Archives: Happiness in the workplace

Creating a mindful environment works!

2 Jan

We generally have between 70,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. These thoughts can range from
“I’m hungry”
“Why did Joanne not reply to my text..Did I do something wrong?”
“Why do I get so much homework from Miss Breen”
“The sky is a funny colour”…etc
When we analyze these thoughts we find that many of them are negative.
Simply because the brain is hardwired to remember negatives as a coping mechanism.
“Don’t put my hand on the lit cooker hob… it’s hot and causes pain”.
“Don’t walk through the dangerous part of town as something bad will happen because I have heard stories about it”.
It’s almost like our brains are like velcro that allows negative thoughts to stick. It helps us to avoid burning our hand or passing through the wrong side of town at night.

For some reason we fail to hold onto the positive thoughts so easily.
“That is a beautiful sunset”
“I love being around this person”
“The colours of the sky are breathtaking.”
it is almost like our brain turns into a non stick frying pan when where positive thoughts are concerned and they are not as remembered.

Take for example a soldier on duty in the Iraqi war. What are his memories
“Death and destruction”
“Fear”
“The smell of dead corpses”
“Wanting to go home..etc
Mindfulness allows us to pause the thinking and concentrate on sensing. What am I feeling in this present moment. It stops the thoughts that we outlined above and brings us to the present moment.
So in the midst of all the fear, death and destruction etc that the soldier experiences while on duty he can create a window that can allow him experience the beauty of the sunrise or sunset or the presence of the now.I am not saying it eradicates the reality and pain of war. But in the madness there can be moments of clarity,connectedness and a sense of beauty. For someone else witnessing that sunset, it is a beautiful gift at the end of the day, the difference is the thought patterns that both parties are experiencing.
If we spend our time thinking “What’s for dinner”(Future Based) or “Why did Jenny not talk with me at Lunch time”(past based) we lose the present moment and we can not be engaged in the Maths,Language learning, Project meeting or whatever we are engaging in. The benefits of being present are huge. Companies Like Google and other corporations now incorporate a short 2-3 minute mindfulness mediation before the start of their meetings to bring them fully present to what is being discussed and far more likely to gain the results the meeting hoped for.

Remember when we are stressed we cannot grow. High levels of Cortisol produced during long periods of stress inhibit growth and cause illness and worse. We are made up of trillions of cells and we, like our cells, react to our environment. Experiments have been done by Dr Bruce Lipton with cells in a petri dish. The cells are contaminated with a toxic environment that stresses the cell and ultimately kills it.


Stress does then same to us.We are those cells. It kills creativity and prevents growth. That is why it is important to develop environments that create creativity and growth, that is what mindfulness allows.

That is the vision our schools,workplaces and societies should have for our future. How can we create environments that people can flourish,create and grow. Well it starts with you and that start comes with being present to the moment and that presence comes from Mindfulness.

Video 22 Jul

This is the kind of company you want to work for. Happy days at Zappos.

Will Coffee and Apples make us happy at work?

30 Nov

I have just read an article from last Fridays Guardian  where journalist Graham Snowdon referred to a study on happiness within the workplace. It made the connection between happiness within the workplace and up to date technology a good desk and access to decent coffee.

According to research commissioned by office developers Goodman, the things that keep us most happy and motivated at work are both conceptually simple and reasonably cost-effective: namely, up to date computers, a desk for keeping personal things on, and access to decent coffee.

The simple things are always the best. Access to these items in themselves are a bonus to any office (some might even say a basic requirement) but discovering why our staff are happy requires that we delve a little deeper into why our staff keep turning up each day and being happy to be there.

Yes we do like shiny new computers and the best Italian coffees but If you want your staff to feel happy in the workplace they need to feel

  • That they have a meaningful contribution to the organization that they work for and have a say in the direction that the company is taking.
  • That the job that they have is engaging and they have a sense of fulfilment in their role.
  • That they are appreciated for what they do. We like to be praised for what we do. Not empty praise or praise for the sake of it. We need to really appreciate the people that work for and with us. When was the last time you let them know they mattered.
  • That enjoying coming to work is ok. Having fun in the workplace breaks up the routine and once again brings out a side of us we all love. Once it doesn’t hurt anyone you can be as wacky as you want to be. Try it some time.
  • That they are growing within your organization. We are creative ,inquisitive beings we like to learn. encourage your employees to take up a course in what ever they want to do. It does not have to be in a subject related to what they work at. It could be artistic, creative or based in logics or mathematics.  If it is what they want to do ir will only benefit you and them in the long run.
  • Trusted. I don’t mean security wise, that should be a given. I mean do you trust your staff to make the right decisions. We all make mistakes so be prepared to see some happen. Learn from it and move forward. As I spoke about in a previous blog. Ricardo Semler saw his company Semco grow once he was prepared to delegate responsibility and trust the decisions that his workers make. Go for it.

Access to Italian espresso and Apple computers are great plusses to any workplace. But if you hate where you work and what you do, no amount of coffee and Apple macs will change that.

Happiness at work comes from being engaged, feeling trusted, feeling appreciated,having control over what you do,enjoying turning up to where you work and apparently staplers!!! as Graham Snowdon says

Another interesting titbit from the Goodman survey concerns the vital importance of staplers on office morale. This is apparently particularly true in London, where one in 10 workers complain there are not enough to go around. In Scotland, curiously, there appears to something of a stapler surplus, with one in five saying they have too many of the things. Have the Scots been quietly stealing them all?

Happy days.

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