BONUS: Beyond Profit, How Happy Office Is Redefining Success in the Workplace, with Maartje Jansen and Fennande van der Meulen

Maartje and Fennande’s journey into the realm of happiness at work began with a blend of personal insight and professional evolution.

A conversation with a neighbor about the  innovative step of hiring the Netherlands’ first Chief Happiness Officer, led them to the realization that prioritizing worker happiness is not just beneficial but essential for business success.

This revelation was the cornerstone for founding Happy Office, the consultancy they work for.

Both had always valued engagement and purpose in their work, but now they were seeing the business world through a new lens: one that focuses on harnessing the full potential of employees, beyond just profit generation.

Their early skepticism from academic circles about influencing work culture was overturned by practical experiences.

The Four Pillars of Workplace Happiness

They define happiness at work simply by saying: “it’s when you find yourself whistling on the way to and from work!”

They use four ideas to help describe how to achieve that outcome, the four Ps of Purpose, People, Progress, and Positivity.

These pillars serve as the foundation for creating a work environment where employees feel energized rather than drained.

At the core of their definition lies the basic human needs for meaningful relationships and contributions, suggesting that true happiness at work is about finding the right balance that fulfills these needs.

The Critical Role of Happiness in Today’s Workplace

This episode’s conversation underscores the heightened relevance of workplace happiness in the contemporary world, noting a discernible difference in organizations that take it seriously.

The emphasis on happiness is linked to broader trends in recognizing the value of positive work culture in fostering creativity, cooperation, productivity, and resilience among employees.

They also touch on the preventative role of a positive culture in reducing stress and burnout, supported by data and practical experience from their consulting work.

Fostering Happiness at Work: Practical Strategies

Offering actionable advice, Maartje and Fennande highlight the importance of starting with a clear understanding and discussion of what happiness means to a team.

They advocate for evaluating and improving upon the four pillars, emphasizing that cultural change should be incremental rather than big-bang.

Their approach is against the notion of rapid, transformative programs, suggesting instead a step-by-step experimentation to cultivate a lasting positive culture.

Making Change Last: The Role of Leadership

The challenge of ensuring lasting change is met with strategies rooted in engaging employees in meaningful conversations about their best work experiences and needs to flourish.

Despite initial resistance, these discussions pave the way for practical, tangible steps towards happiness.

The importance of leadership in modeling desired behaviors and the agile approach to HR are highlighted as critical factors in making happiness at work a sustainable reality.

About Maartje Jansen and Fennande van der Meulen

Fennande van der Meulen is an expert in workplace happiness and positive culture, co-leading Woohoo Unlimited. Utilizing the Happy Office method, she offers online training, workshops, and in-depth programs to enhance work happiness, culture, and productivity. Her approach is evidence-based, rooted in science, and internationally recognized.

You can link with Fennande van der Meulen on LinkedIn.

Maartje Jansen specializes in improving work culture using the Happy Office method, emphasizing positive organizational environments. She addresses issues like unclear company values and negative workplace dynamics. Her approach includes workshops, extensive programs, and evidence-based strategies grounded in scientific research, aimed at enhancing workplace happiness and productivity.

You can link with Maartje Jansen on LinkedIn.

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