“We have three innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy.”
― Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
As Pink explains in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, there are a few innate psychological needs that must be filled to generate satisfactory and enjoyable work. However, once those psychological needs are filled, what separates the most enjoyable companies from those that only provide above average levels of satisfaction and happiness? This blog post will explore and try to answer the question: “How do I make my company more enjoyable for everyone?”
“A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted”
At Pablow, doing things in a way that is enjoyable is one of our key tenants that motivate our actions. Even if we are on a roller coaster ride as a start up in the insurance industry, we recognize that the journey should still remain fun.
Why do we value being happy, laughing a lot, and enjoying our work? Enjoyable work, happiness and laughter all provide significant physical, mental and social benefits.
Laughter alone helps you feel good by releasing endorphins that fight stress and provide an almost immediate benefit. It also helps relax you muscles for up to 45 minutes at a time, with exception of your mouth muscles, which can actually hurt if you laugh too hard. Been there and have almost cried from laughing too hard! Laughter improves your resistance to disease by increasing infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells and by decreasing stress hormones. It can protect your heart by improving blood flow and blood vessel functioning. Laughter helps dissolve disagreements between people if it’s shared and both parties agree to put their problems behind them. It surprisingly has also been shown to help adults with short-term memory.
Put simply … you can’t afford to not have people laugh at work. If you value your employees and their happiness, then you need to make the commitment to integrate humor and enjoyable situations into your company culture.
One great story about how humor and laughter were embraced in the company culture comes from Delta Air Lines. A couple of years ago a frequent flyer complained to the CEO that a flight attendant was joking around in her safety briefing, which the flyer considered a very serious procedure. Instead of apologizing, the CEO told the frequent flyer that he was sorry to see him leave the airline, because humor was a key part of their company culture and thus he stood behind his flight attendant’s right to laugh and help others laugh. Today Delta Air Lines has further embraced this humor by incorporating it into their pre-flight safety videos that both deliver an important message and have some fun in how they present it – I’d definitely recommend taking a look.
But What Can I Do?
So a happy, laughing, satisfied, productive and motivated workplace is great, but what can most small to medium sized companies in the vacation rental or tech industries do to embrace these values?
The first and easiest step is to begin to laugh at yourself, and model the kind of behavior that you want everyone else to embrace. You can also find friends, hire employees, and build professional relationships within your community with people that you enjoy being around.
Teams can be more enjoyable if you push everyone to be spontaneous and encouraging of humor. This can be as complex as surprising the team with tickets to a comedy show next Friday evening or as simple as telling jokes as you leave the office and sharing funny videos with the rest of your team. As funny as jokes can be, make sure to keep them positive and not a roast of anyone in particular, as that could have just the opposite effect desired.
At networking events or job interviews ask people what they enjoy doing instead of about their job and encourage them to tell you a funny story, but you should also be prepared with a funny story of your own to share with them.
Laughter is Contagious
Regardless of how you make your organization more enjoyable for your staff, laughter and happiness is contagious. Try just one of the tactics mentioned above and let us know how it works for your organization. We’re interested to learn how it goes!