Happiness, anyone?


When resources are tight that’s the time to get strategic.   I have a sign on my office wall that says

Focus on the important things.
Why are we doing this?  Is this the best way?

But the fact is we’re all working harder than ever, and some days it can really wear on you.   It’s part of a leader’s job to try and keep employees strong and focused and happy.  Keeping your morale up, and your co-workers engaged, comes in many flavors!  For example…

  • Every Monday I post This Week’s Challenge from the NPR  Sunday puzzle  on our firm intranet.  It’s a contest – whoever gets the answer first gets a prize.  A small group of committed puzzle people compete every week.  It’s more fun for me when I don’t know the answer before posting it — because then I’m in the race too!
  • A good friend of mine started a contest in his office.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, their office becomes “The Opera,” and everyone sings instead of speaking — even when they answer the phone!   The first person who fails to sing has to buy lunch.

What are you doing to stay happy?  How are you helping your co-workers to remain motivated?

Join the discussion!

Janet Altman is a Marketing Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

  1. Indira Chaudhry says:

    Happiness is a state of the mind….which changes with the mood of the person…depending on the circumstances/situations faced by him/her….at various life moments….

    Everyone on this earth WANTS to be Happy but…not all ARE…due to various reasons/happenings/ unfulfilled expectations or desires/etc….

    Thus one must be CONTEND and ACCEPT certain defeats/failures/etc with grace in order to BE HAPPY !

  2. Indira Chaudhry says:

    A smile costs nothing….so am just passing some along….
    Also a smile is contagious…so when others get one they will too pass it on……

  3. Janet Kyle Altman says:

    LILIANA DONES [creativetoolsinc@aol.com] wrote:

    I am a marketing and communications specialist. I have been giving tips to my colleagues on things they can do to improve their marketing. I promote my fellow Chamber of Commerce members as much as possible. It works. Promoting another person’s business, even if you stand to get nothing out of it immediately is paying into the future. It creates communication, good will and the business owner will remember your good turn and reciprocate. It works. I am juggling work right now like the guy on Ed Sullivan who used to spin plates. It’s a great motivator.

  4. Janet Kyle Altman says:

    Carol Todd Thomas [cthomas@joneswalker.com] wrote:

    Involving them in every project, making them part of the decisions. We are relatively busy, so that helps, but no question that people are nervous about the economy. I share the good and the bad, so they have the facts and are not speculating and worrying about things that may not be real, but imagined.

  5. Michael Simmons says:

    The current economic conditions are clearly leading to increased stress and anxiety levels among almost everyone. Unless you’re truly conscious of its effects, it’s easy to fall into the trap of letting negative emotions take over and the dreaded “woe is me” feeling.

    Maintaining a positive mantra and appreciating everything you do have can really help ease your worries and reduce complaining. Keep in mind that everyone is in a similar position as you and most likely feels the same way. Focus on having an uplifting tone when you interact with others rather than being downbeat and they will most likely reciprocate that towards you as well.

  6. Wolfgang H. Pinther says:

    There was a good article this morning in the Miami Herald about how exercise can help keep economy-related stress at bay.

    A section of the article talks about the increase in the number of employers offering wellness programs. Although I have my own workout regimen at my personal gym, I do take advantage of Kaufman, Rossin’s programs such as massages and yoga. Exercise is my “detox” or way to relieve stress and having an employer that shares this belief really boosts moral. At work, I see many employees taking advantage of the array of fitness activities and I can definitely tell that they are happier and more productive employees!

  7. George says:

    Along the same lines, but much more targeted toward effectiveness and efficiency: building a culture of optimization. This encourages communication and team-building while focusing on defining and refining efficiencies.

    Article here (specifically focused on online marketing, but lessons applicable to all):

  8. Janet Kyle Altman says:

    Fred Silverman [fred@silvermanmediagroup.com]wrote:

    There is a tendency to let the negative voice that influences our thoughts rear its’ ugly head when things get tough. So, I find, it’s important now to consciously drown out that negative voice and direct your thoughts, your attitude and approach to life to the positives. I believe positive energy will feed you. So, how do I do that when there are so many negatives around and client after client is telling me no? Practice. Practice.
    Develop a positive mantra that becomes a part of who you are. Repeat it over and over. It may seem like you’re channeling Stuart Smalley, but in reality you’re making the positive voice louder. It will drown out the negative voice and it will lift your spirits.
    The other exercise that’s important to do is create a gratitude list. Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the things for which you are grateful….everything….Blue skies, your spouse, your kids….be specific. After you’ve filled a page, you’ll feel amazing.
    I could go on, but I think I already have.

  9. Marty Brooks says:

    While having fun at work can frequently be morale-boosting, it can also be counter-productive: employees may ask “why are we fooling around and wasting time when we’re laying people off during this recession?”

    And will your customers take you seriously if you’re singing to them on the phone? Will they feel that you’re not committed enough to the seriousness of their business during these tough times?

    I think there are some more fundamental issues to keeping employees happy:

    1. Communication
    – Are employees immediately informed when layoffs happen? Are the reasons for the layoffs honestly and clearly communicated? There is nothing more confusing to an employee than coming in one day and finding out that co-workers have been dismissed.

    – Are employees clearly updated on the company’s strategy and how the company plans to handle the recession? Employees morale falls when they don’t have confidence in their company and they can’t have confidence if they don’t know where their company is headed. Company communication in this regard needs to be clear and specific — it can’t be a bunch of generic platitudes in a company newsletter.

    – One of the things that drives low employee morale is the spread of rumors, which have a way of getting worse with each retelling. To stop rumors, communicate clearly and often with your employees.

    2. Recognition

    – If employees have to take on extra work because of departing coworkers, is that extra effort recognized and respected or is it taken for granted? Certainly that company can take some percentage of the layoff savings and distribute that to the remaining employees in terms of bonuses or raises. Employees need to feel that they’re at least as important as the shareholders.

    3. Strategy Development
    A company can’t communicate a strategy unless it has one. It’s very frustrating to employees to find out a company has “reversed course” if they don’t understand the reason for the change.

    A company that is seen to be panicking is not one that will encourage high morale among its employees.

    If a new strategy must be developed in light of market conditions having a large number of employees help define that new strategy can also help improve morale.

    Taking care of these basics and then adding on the “fun” aspects described in the post can create a “best of both worlds” situation and keep eemployee morale high.

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