Happiness at work is a habit you can practice

Employees in charge of their own wellbeing

We all have to work. However, the key to finding happiness on the job is to feel good at work.  There are countless benefits to happiness at work, both for the employee and the company, as scientific research has repeatedly shown. According to "The Happiness Advantage” by the American researcher Shawn Achor, happy employees are up to 31% more productive and their creativity is three times higher. With the support of ESF Flanders, Vlerick Business School and HR service provider Attentia have therefore developed a new tool which wants to promote happiness at work.

Employees can use a free online tool, called “Werken aan Welzijn" (Working towards Wellbeing - available in Dutch only), to increase their own wellbeing, with practical insights and simple exercises, on a physical, social and mental level.
Vlerick researcher Eva Degeyter and Dr Sara De Hauw explain why this tool is different from others: "Our starting premise is that happiness at work is a shared responsibility, of the employer and the employee. Employers must create the conditions in which employee wellbeing can thrive. On the other hand, it is vital that employees also take advantage of these initiatives. A lot of tools out there are aimed at employers, which is why we chose to provide support to employees instead with “Werken aan Welzijn”. We inform them about the importance of wellbeing at work, as well as raising their awareness about the many little things they can do differently. A lot of simple and easy exercises can really make a noticeable difference”.

A comprehensive approach to wellbeing

Wellbeing can have many different meanings. It can relate to healthy food, optimism, a good work-life balance and much more. If you want to be happier at work, you have to simultaneously tap into your own physical, mental and social energy sources that will boost your wellbeing.
Eva Degeyter: “What is so unique about the “Werken aan Welzijn” tool is that we take a very comprehensive approach to wellbeing. We have divided the 13 wellbeing topics into three large fields in order to maintain an overview. Exercise, nutrition, relaxation and ergonomics all contribute to our physical wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is all about focusing on positive thinking, humour, self-development, doing meaningful work and tackling stress. Finally, social wellbeing relates to your work-life balance and the relationship with your colleagues, your superior and your team members”.

Action instead of a diagnosis

Anyone interested in determining his or her wellbeing can fill out the wellbeing barometer. This brief questionnaire is designed to make employees take a closer look at their situation and inspire them to think about wellbeing. The main objective of this tool, however, is to encourage people to take action. Users will find fun and practical exercises in the inspiration box for all the above topics, which mainly want to induce an Aha! Experience, a new insight. The exercises will make users think about how often they subconsciously tackle certain matters, even though there are alternatives. Users who prefer some more guidance can subscribe to a bi-weekly e-mail newsletter with exercises, tips, quotes and facts, for twelve weeks. In addition to the exercises, the tool also comes with a wellbeing library full of useful information about wellbeing and the impact of this on the body, mind and work environment.

Not a miracle cure

Finally Sara stresses that the tool does not provide a cure for burnout or depression: “The emphasis is not on healing negativity but on making employees more energetic, increasing their vitality and getting them to focus on the positive aspects of their job. We want to make employees aware of the energy sources they have for achieving this and give them some extra encouragement”.

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