Happy in the Workplace: 10 Ways to Create an Environment of Appreciation to Boost Employee Happiness

May 4, 2023
 a happy workplace team getting work done

What does going to work feel like? For most workers, “happy” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. 

In today’s workplace, though, companies are starting to see the benefits of boosting employee happiness.

As companies invest more in improving overall business operations, they’re also concerned with workplace happiness and how it impacts employees. Creating a happy workplace is one of the best ways to boost company performance as it improves employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity.

So, how do we define workplace happiness? Can it be measured? What are the best ways to improve how employees feel about their workplace? Keep reading to learn more. 

What is workplace happiness?

Defining happiness can be tricky considering how subjective it is depending on the person. Even if you can’t settle on a definition, there are aspects of happiness that can be found in the workplace. For example, managers and employees can relate it to feelings like engagement, motivation, and overall joy.

When these positive emotions combine in a workplace, happy workers will go the extra mile and drive exceptional performance. They link the overall positivity in the workplace to their personal goals, and they experience growth and development with self-motivation and self-knowledge. 

Can we measure happiness in the workplace?

Employee wellbeing and happiness are infectious, and teams of happy employees represent your company best. Employee engagement and cooperation go beyond the work itself as satisfied and happy workers realize they’re part of the big picture and actively contribute to the company’s overall success.

Measuring happiness at work is challenging, but there’s work you can do to get a sense of how employees are feeling.

So, what makes a workplace happy? Here are some ways to know if workers are comfortable in their work environments. 

Conduct a survey

Before any strategic decision, a company should design a series of employee surveys to gauge how employees are feeling about the organization overall. The same can be done when measuring workplace happiness and employee engagement and satisfaction

Managers can design surveys with simple “yes or no” questions or star ratings to see how employees feel about various tasks, decisions, and elements of work. Reviewing these metrics allows you to see if your employees are and will stay comfortable while doing their daily jobs. 

Employee surveys can be extremely impactful, when done right. Read this Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys to learn how to craft them.

Download the free guide now!

Offer anonymous feedback opportunities

Some employees might feel reluctant to share how they think about the work environment because they want to avoid getting into trouble. You can solve this issue by offering an opportunity for anonymous feedback where employees can talk about what they feel and need.

Engage in more conversations

As a manager, you should rely on more than surveys and feedback sessions to measure wellness and happiness in your company. Holding honest and regular conversations in addition to surveys will help you understand how workers feel about their responsibilities, compensation, and overall work environment. 

a team celebrating after getting their work done

By paying attention to motivation, body language, and tone of voice, you can see if your employees are happy or if you can do something to create a more joyful work environment. 

Check customer satisfaction and other employee performance metrics

An employee who feels happy, motivated, and satisfied with their current job will most likely perform better. In addition, happy team members who feel appreciated will work harder to achieve the company’s goals because they know they fit the culture. They view the company’s success as an indication of their personal development. 

Check wellness levels

Creating a positive company culture means employees feel more engaged and less stressed while doing their jobs. You can ask employees to rate statements regarding their mental and physical wellbeing and stress levels in a wellness survey to see how you can transform the workplace and help employees feel better. You can also conduct a survey to see if employees will recommend the company to their own networks. 

Check absenteeism

High levels of absenteeism are related to an employee’s disengagement and can indicate that employee is burned out and needs a break. In a happy work environment, employees are less likely to skip work. They might need to be more motivated to show up for work because the company underestimates what they’re going through. 

Check turnover

When you, as a manager, ignore what employees need, they often feel actively disengaged and ultimately leave the organization. On the other hand, satisfied employees will retain their jobs because they feel recognized and appreciated, and happy workplaces are likely to keep their employees for years. 

Why is employee happiness good for business?

Employees perform better when they feel the company’s goals align with theirs. Here are some reasons why maintaining happiness will benefit your company. 

  • Happiness at work is contagious. Happy employees will help create a positive workspace, encourage others, and provide constructive feedback that benefits the company. 
  • Satisfied employees won’t settle and will work harder to help the company attain its goals. 
  • Happy employees make fewer mistakes. When they do, they will admit their mistakes and seek guidance knowing they’re working in a safe and comfortable environment. 
  • Happiness encourages creativity and eliminates monotony in the workspace. 
  • Happy employees assume a positive attitude towards work issues. As a result, they’re more likely to look for solutions rather than just complain. 
  • When employees know they’re appreciated, they learn faster and make better decisions. 
  • Happy employees are better teammates.

10 simple ways to create and improve happiness levels in the workplace. 

Studies show that companies that keep employees happy outperform their competitors by at least 20%. 

As a manager, you can implement several tips and strategies to maintain employees’ happiness, satisfaction, and motivation, ensuring they’re happy at work and don’t feel drained after a job well done. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Focus on life-work balance

Keeping your employees happy and satisfied should be your “north star” when building positive company culture. By paying attention to how employees think and feel about their workload and reward system, you can make it easier for them to complete their tasks. 

Hold brainstorming sessions to understand how your team views the best work conditions. Remind your team that their voices are heard and that your main goal is to create a positive work environment for everyone. You should be aware of the power of happy and dedicated employees who know they’re fully appreciated. The HR department can suggest several work efforts to leverage positive psychology at work.

2. Offer consistent praise and recognition

Praise and recognition can go a long way in helping people feel their efforts are appreciated. Regular meetings with weekly or monthly awards and shout-outs will encourage your employees to work harder. 

Work becomes infinitely more enjoyable if people feel cared about and recognized for who they are and what they bring to the organization. A tool like Workhuman® Social Recognition can improve your company’s culture by making appreciation a habit. 

staff in a happy workplace

A simple thank you goes a long way: It can elevate happiness in the workplace and help you create a fully engaged team that views the company as a family. 

3. Be honest

Employees will be happy when they work for someone they can trust. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to explain major communications and any changes regarding upcoming mergers, downsizing, or policy changes to your teams. The goal is to be as transparent as possible. Employees won’t appreciate the whiplash of coming to a workplace that has changed overnight. 

4. Offer wellbeing perks

Employee retention can’t be achieved by compensation alone. As a matter of fact, people consider several factors in the workplace that affect their decision to stay with an organization.

These include exceptional health and wellness programs that focus on mental and emotional health, rewards and discounts, flexible hours, childcare benefits, paid leaves, performance bonuses, paid vacations, and development plans. All these tools can be used to reward employees and make them feel appreciated. 

Employees who know they can learn something new or gain new experiences are more likely to remain loyal to their organization. Offering remote options instead of in-office working hours will encourage more people to work instead of missing work to care for their families. 

5. Give employees a purpose

People typically feel more engaged when they have a clear sense of purpose. Part of a manager’s job is explaining why things need to be done the way they are and creating a purpose instead of giving orders. 

Holding regular meetings to explain strategic changes and then tying those back to the company’s mission improves productivity and motivation. Ensure your employees understand the value of their work and how it affects the company’s goals instead of merely asking them to do their job without explaining the reason. 

6. Invest in your teams

Job opportunities that offer personal and team growth impact the way employees view their work. This is why you should invest in and offer your employees learning opportunities to help them learn new skills. 

You can invest in your team’s wellness by offering an opportunity that improves employees’ physical, mental, and emotional states. One way to keep employees comfortable is to ensure they have enough rest instead of sitting at a desk all day. Additionally, work shouldn’t be assigned during lunch breaks or after work hours. You might also want to consider offering healthy snacks that can improve employee health and make them feel refreshed.

7. Introduce more fun

Even the most enjoyable job can become stressful at times. It’s your job as a manager to ensure that your employees think of their office as a happy and safe place. Impactful leaders prioritize employee engagement, making time for fun activities both inside and outside the office and improving the bond between team members. 

8. Encourage communication

Get your team members to communicate by creating a safe space for everyone. This impacts both new and veteran employees, as each team member brings a unique perspective to the team. Moreover, sharing ideas between management and employees can lead to more success. 

Micromanaging negatively impacts the company as a whole, so ask your team about the best way to get things done. Take notes of what your team members suggest, and remember to acknowledge their contribution as you report suggestions to upper management.

9. Learn more about employees

Although your primary focus should be asking how workers feel about their job, you should also learn about who they are as people. Ask them about their interests, their families, and what’s happening in their world.

As it related to work, ask about their personal goals and what keeps them motivated. You’ll more than likely be surprised by what you discover and how it can help the team grow stronger overall.

10. Build trust

You can create a strong sense of trust by showing support in tough times. A happier workplace can be achieved, in part, by showing your team members they can make mistakes. As difficult as they can be, mistakes can be invaluable learning opportunities.

In the end, a work environment should focus on building employee morale by building a culture of recognition, where every employee feels seen, valued, and appreciated for their unique skill sets and contributions to the team as a whole.



Creating and maintaining a safe and happy work environment should be on top of your list as a manager. Although measuring happiness professionally can be challenging because each person’s definition of happiness is unique to the individual, there are a number of ways you can gauge how employees feel about the workplace overall.

It starts by understanding why workplace happiness is so important, how it improves individual, team, and company-wide performance, and what you can do to foster it.