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3 Cheers for Happiness Day 2015

Happiness Day does just what it says on the tin, celebrates what makes for happiness in 2015. Promoted by the UN General Assembly since 2012, International Happiness Day on March 20th is celebrated each year all over the world.

An Injection of Fun
As with most UN days, businesses, governments, non-government organisations and charities are encouraged to invent a way to celebrate the theme of happiness. How much a business buys in to International Happiness Day depends on how clever the PR department can be!

A good start to planning a happiness themed day is to evaluate which areas of business practice can be celebrated. A business could focus on the following:
• Performance and Productivity – Inspirational individuals and teams make for happy workplaces. Celebrating the efforts of staff within the business just may kickstart productivity and improve team morale.
• Changing the working environment – Remember early start-ups where table tennis tables, juke-box players and lots of bouncy balls were to hand in the offices? Perhaps having a fun workplace set of activities people are encouraged to play ‘for a laugh’ – matched up with a survey about how the employees feel about working with your firm – may suit your business model.
• Announcing a pay rise – there’s nothing that makes staff happier than this!

A Learning and Development Happiness Day
Having a team learning day focusing on the UN development goals for happiness, means everyone has a chance to speak about how the company can (or does) help others. There is evidence a happy workplace leads to greater profits. This can mean encouraging staff to support a charity, a diversity project, a healthy eating plan or something relevant to the local work environment. It is interesting that International Happiness Day was inspired by the actions of the government of Bhutan. When measuring economic performance, they valued the indice for Gross Domestic Happiness of its own citizens above that of Gross Domestic Product. The UN liked this approach to economic measurements so much, they adopted happiness as a fundamental human goal.

Sharing Happiness is Rewarding
Business today is very geared towards meeting consumer choice, and if your business deals with customers in crisis on a regular basis, rewarding employees with merit based awards can improve the happiness of your staff. Think of the times there was a breakthrough moment, a difficult person was ‘turned around’ by the team, or a major disaster was successfully managed. Happiness means being recognised for making positive change in the world – not just making great sales.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sums up the goal for the International Day of Happiness as this: “Happiness may have different meanings for different people. But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions which so many of our fellow human beings live.” Perhaps for 2015, finding happiness within your workplace is not so elusive, after all.

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