Positive psychology, enterprise social networks, and happiness at work

A generation back, the concept of happiness at work was alien. People went to work to work and make a living. Today, the workforce seeks to be happy, engaged, productive and do meaningful work at their workplace.

Research proves that, as individuals, our happiness levels depend not on our genetic makeup, or the external realities of our life, but majorly on our thoughts and our thought process. An interesting TED Talk drives home the same point here. Noted below are some of the key points highlighted through the talk:

The human brain in a positive state is more productive than when it is in a neutral or negative state.

  • Dopamine — the chemical which is released in the brain in a positive state — activates all the learning centers of the brain. This makes us more alert and better equipped to handle challenges and new experiences.
  • 75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

positive psychology

According to Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of Psychology at University of North Carolina, positive emotions such as joy, interest, love, serenity, awe, amusement, pride, etc. — that last even just for few seconds or minutes can help us improve our resilience and optimism and help develop better connections with others. In spite of the research and the raised awareness on positive psychology, most organizations today are faced with the challenge of dipping employee engagement and morale.

Employees today are asking for enterprise social networks (ESN) as a way for paving a more open and transparent workplace. Enterprise social networks can act as the engines for optimism, satisfaction and trust. Enterprise social networks can help raise the feeling of being one big team.

A daily diet of positivity can raise our optimism levels and help rewire our brain. Here is a list of 5 things you can do regularly on your ESN for a more positive and optimistic workplace.

Five ways to encourage happiness at work with ESNs

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate – Enterprise social networks serve as the perfect platform for communication. The micro-blogging feature helps everyone share what’s on their mind and every small or big highlight of their work day. Being plugged into the pulse of the team and getting regular updates from the leaders on the wins, challenges and the direction does wonders for the morale, optimism, pride and sense of belonging for each and every team member.
  2. Ask a question – Need for social connection is part of the human nature. Enterprise social networks can easily help foster these connections. Encourage positive conversations and work morale over your enterprise social network using simple questions like: Which book are you currently reading, what was your first assignment in your first job, what was your good deed of the day, what do you think of the progress we’ve made, or want to work together on this project?
  3. Picture contest – Sharing of pictures on social media is very popular. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or your enterprise social network — photo sharing is fun and a great means of communication. Try incorporating “Picture Contests” into your workplace. Have coworkers share photos of themselves, funny work images, or beautiful trips they’ve taken — it will give your crew something to talk about and encourage friendships and positives vibes in your workplace. Or, make a game of it. Put together a picture contest with photos and photo hash-tags. Identify customer logos or colleagues from their baby pics. Or, feature a messiest work-space picture contest — to give someone a hint — as well as generate enthusiasm on your enterprise social network.
  4. Quiz – Quizzes are also very popular, fun, and easy to manage on social media networks. Organise a quiz about your company’s history, customer info, culture — or even domain know how to lift your employees spirits and add an element of fun to your workday.
  5. Treasure hunt – 28% of employees make their decision to stay or quit with a company in the very first week. With enterprise social networks it is easier to understand all stages of an employee’s life cycle — be it on-boarding or learning. Make learning fun for new employees by turning a monotonous tutorial into a joyful treasure hunt on your enterprise social network.

Which of these options do you think will go down with your ESN? If you have more ideas around ESNs and happiness at work do leave them in the comments.

Also, see this infographic by Funders and Founders on “How to Motivate yourself to work”

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About the guest author

Vipin is the product manager at MangoApps. He works with companies that range from small business to large enterprises in deploying and adopting social technologies. He can be reached at VipinT7.