After two-plus years of the pandemic, our world’s relationship to work looks completely different from the way it used to.
We have a better understanding of what makes us feel fulfilled on the job and what leaves us feeling high and dry. We’ve learned that a rigid 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t work for everyone. We’ve decided that we deserve to do work that matters to us. In short, happiness in the workplace is more important than it’s ever been.
But happiness can easily fall to the bottom of your company’s priority list, especially in a high-burnout industry like marketing. Obligations to clients, deadlines and agency growth can overshadow whether the people you work with even like being there.
If you’re a leader at your agency, try asking your team a few questions to see how you can help them be happier on the job.
“Do you have the flexibility you need?”
One of the key lessons learned from the pandemic is that everyone works differently.
Some of us operate best with our coworkers buzzing about in the background. Others find a day at home helps them focus on pressing tasks. Some feel they only really need to be in person for important meetings, while others rely on in-person collaboration to spur creativity.
Your team members might have found that their pandemic-era setup worked unexpectedly well, but they might be hesitant to say so – especially if your agency has largely resumed in-person work. Given the nature of professional services, most agencies can offer some work-from-home flexibility without much trouble.
Try asking your team if your current attendance model works for them. If not, dig deeper and see what kind of flexibility they need to thrive.
“Do you feel valued?”
Nobody wants to be in a friendship or relationship where they feel unwanted. That sentiment applies to the workplace, too.
Feeling valued at work doesn’t necessarily mean a beefy paycheck. The highest-paid person on your team might feel undervalued if they get a paltry vacation allowance. Perhaps they’d like more learning and development opportunities, like going to that fancy conference next month. Or maybe they just want you to give them and their work the occasional shout-out.
People also feel more seen when others invest in them as people, not just coworkers. Sure, that office social hour or end-of-quarter party might seem insignificant. But events and team-building exercises help us bond over what makes us human: family, hobbies, culture – even embarrassing high school stories.
Show your team that you want them to feel appreciated, and then work with them to determine how you can make that happen.
“Are we doing meaningful work?”
People can’t be happiest at work if they don’t want to do … well, the work.
Doing work that helps others and feels meaningful can significantly boost your happiness, well-being and even your lifespan. (We’re not kidding.) That’s what’s so important about bringing on clients you and your team believe in. When your team gets to help make a difference, it will motivate them to perform their best.
But having the right clients isn’t the answer for every struggling team member. Sometimes, people just aren’t satisfied with their role on a team. When their responsibilities don’t play to their strengths, they’re bound to feel less accomplished, even if they’re doing passable work. Imagine being a knockout swimmer. Wouldn’t you be bummed if your triathlon relay team assigned you to the bicycle leg, even if you’re a decent cyclist?
Ask your team if they find their work meaningful. If not, encourage them to seek new responsibilities or (if possible) ask to work on a different client.
Finding our Happier Place … and helping you find yours
We’ve done some rethinking lately – about our goals and our motivations, how we perform best, and what makes Dotted Line a great place to work.
Creating a positive work environment is one of our top priorities, especially given how fast we’re growing. Thanks to open office dialogue, we recently took a few actionable steps to make our team a little happier:
- We started letting people work from home up to three days a week;
- We adopted an unlimited paid time-off policy with a four-week annual minimum;
- We adjusted our profit-sharing model to more accurately reflect team members’ hard work; and
- We scheduled a series of activities in May to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, including in-office yoga and a weeklong walking challenge.
One thing hasn’t changed: the happiness we get from doing work that makes others happy, too. That’s why we launched our Happier Place project earlier in May.
The Happier Place involves a simple, easy-to-use landing page. Just click a button to cycle through a roulette of smile-inducing GIFs hand-picked by our team. (We’re especially fond of the rabbit taking a sink bath and pretty much anything involving a hedgehog.)
It’s been a tough stretch for everyone in every industry. We hope this humble piece of creative helps you brighten a dull moment or wind down from a long day. Visit https://findyourhappier.place/ for a quick and easy mood boost.
If you think you need professional mental health services, it’s never the wrong time to seek help. Visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services for important resources.