Are You Happy at Work?

Great Place to Work ®Canada just released the 2018 Best Workplaces ™ and it gave me pause to wonder what exactly makes a great place to work.

A Hays Canada report found that 47 percent of Canadians weren’t happy with their jobs. And when people feel like they don’t fit in with their work environment, they either quit their job or get fired from it.

So what is it that companies like Salesforce, 3M, KFC, and Kicking Horse Coffee all have in common? Their people are happy there! Generally, everyone feels that they belong and brag about where they work.

Are you happy? Do you brag about where you work? If your company wasn’t listed on the list, were you disappointed?

Are you not even remotely surprised your company wasn’t listed? Do you know why they weren’t listed? What do the listed companies have that you don’t have?

It isn’t about salary either. Some of the companies listed are not the high paying organizations like Google or Apple that we see on the American list. Believe it or not, it is the little things that make people feel happy at work even more than the paycheque they bring home. Even if you don’t like the tasks you perform daily, the people will keep you wanting to return to work. When colleagues are friendly, inclusive, smiling, and fun it makes us want to go to work. Are you all of those things with your colleagues?

When you walk down the halls at work, do you avoid eye contact? Is your face staring at your mobile phone so you won’t have to say hello on the elevator? Are you friendly, approachable, and easy to talk to at work? This isn’t about getting “more friends” as I realize you probably have enough friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly at work.

Enjoying the company of the people you work with is paramount to you enjoying your job. Camaraderie goes a long way when things get tough, busy, or scary. If you don’t like the people you work with they certainly will not be the people you turn to in times of trouble.

Another aspect of happiness in the workplace are the perks that come with the job. According to 48% of employees rate that office perks are very important when evaluating a job. If your company provides coffee and tea, free parking, flexibility with work hours, and a nice workstation that certainly adds to the happiness factor at work. If your company doesn’t provide them is it possible for you to implement a few social perks? Maybe have someone bring in a birthday cake once per month and celebrate office birthdays or have a card tournament at lunch (which provides the perk of a break during the day too), or potluck lunches occasionally. I provided a lunch-and-learn session at an Ottawa law firm recently where everyone had to bring a dish that started with the first initial of their last name. That was fun, and everyone tasted some new dishes and enjoyed a social lunch session.

One thing that all workplaces listed on the Best Places to Work have in common is trust. They trust each other, they trust the management team, and because of that trust, they work better together. When we like the people we work with, and we trust them, we create more as a team than if we all contributed individually. Trust is a foundational piece for a great place to work.

Regardless of whether your company made this list or not, your professional happiness is up to you. What do you need to do to create an environment you want to keep coming back to. Create camaraderie, create social perks, create trust. Those three elements will ensure that the people you work with like working their too.

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