At an event I attended last week the audience was asked who was happy at work. I was intrigued to see that the majority of those with their hands up to say yes were self-employed. ‘Is this generally true of all self-employed people, and if so, why?’ I wondered. Well, I’m pleased to say, I didn’t have to think too long as the next day I came across a newly published study confirming that not only are the self-employed happier, it also revealed that their happiness is due to creativity and autonomy.
Understanding this doesn’t mean that all employees should jack their jobs in and set up their own businesses. On the contrary, it should prompt employers to work with their staff to create the conditions for these factors to grow. And before you dismiss this in the mistaken belief that happiness at work doesn’t matter (it does!), at least give some thought as to why you need creativity in the workplace – i.e. for useful ideas, new products, new services, new programmes. Now consider if your work environment impedes creativity, e.g. it’s a hot bed of internal strife, conservatism, and rigid, formal management structures (- conditions which coincidently impede worker autonomy too). Then determine how to provide the conditions that promote innovation – e.g. sufficient resources and good project management.
Next, for some good ideas on how you can get your team’s creative juices flowing, boost their perceptions of being in control, and how to bring a smile to their faces contact firstname.lastname@example.org.