Ingredients of Workplace Happiness

Inspired by reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I asked a series of questions on Friday about workplace happiness. I used happiness as a shortcut word for a place where people can be fully alive and thrive.

Too many organizations still do strategy in the corner offices and innovation in a specific department as a legacy system. When we have highly educated talented people, access to incredible hoards of information, and the necessity to act faster, it just seems crazy that we keep using old systems. There is a better way to create value: We need a way to make our organizations act flat and enable people to actually come up with the answers that will create a new marketplace reality.

Asking: What are the ingredients for workplace happiness, what do we each need to do, and what do we need to stop.


Remove “Command & Control” mindset @vlb
Do allow independent thought. @vlb
Create “apolitical”(context) so (I) don’t have to worry somebody will stab fm behind. @gelchuri
Create “professional environment” – where performance is (both) respected & recognized @gelchuri
Create (workplace culture) where Individuals contribute insights, information, ability to pitch in and a willingness to learn from anyone. @dwmcallister
(let me bring) creativity to every task I’m assigned. @swarnapodila
(all) people to be accountable @vik_sharma
(give me) Challenges! (I love) Designing something new @vik_sharma
(let me do) Hard work (because I can). @petermello
Smiles (smiles= inner Joy coming out) @petermello
Shared passion about mission, sense of effectiveness, rewards for performance, ability to learn and grow. @carlosmcevilly
Sense of effectiveness to me means understanding impact, plus actually having it. @carlosmcevilly
Ability to grow and learn @GeorgeDearing
Opportunities to work on projects that matter @GeorgeDearing
Culture of tolerance & courtesy @kemulholland
Open discussion of issues @kemulholland
Respect, clarity, and flexibility @pamfr
If I make u unhappy pls tell me (cultural norm is we talk to the person directly) @kemulholland
Need open communications, access to decisions, empowerment to do my job @dwmcallister


(my edits were in parenthesis for readability and I hope I didn’t mess up anyone’s original thought)

Implied within all these answers is we believe we can each contribute, and we want our workplaces to give us enough context so we can drive as much of the work and decision as we possibly can. We need our leaders to not tell us what to do, but to be good story tellers, giving us context for what matters and why and then we need them to get out of the way to let us contribute. And we want a place where we can all be “students of the game” — so that we can learn and grow because we can. There’s a real passion in these ingredients. Thank you for sharing them.

On a lighter note:
Pastries, cookies came up 3 times so I’ll trust those are important. I personally think endorphins, and a gym would be better but I’ll defer to you guys.  My friend Lee (@thestonecutter) said: 1) A toy on every desk 2) Plants 3) artwork 4) Mandatory yoga classes and I realize I must be happy because I have 3/4 of his list. And @lauren contributed “sunlight” which for me can be translated to no fluorescent lights!

And an Office Cat was suggested by @dwmcallister. I bet some would say dog but perhaps this is a personal preference thing.

And if all else fails for workplace happiness: @dwmcallister suggested nitrous oxide as key to workplace happiness. Let’s hope we can change how work works, before we have to start rolling around tanks of the stuff.

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