Did you know that Scandinavians actually have a word for happiness at work? In Danish, the word is arbejdsglaede—pronounced ah-bites-gleh-the.
Alexander Kjerulf, a Danish expert on happiness at work, says it’s the feeling you get when you really enjoy what you do—when you do great work that you’re proud of with people you enjoy being around. It’s being appreciated and knowing that what you do directly contributes to the goals of the organization. Simply put, it’s waking up on a Monday morning and actually being excited for the week ahead.
Is arbejdsglaede even possible? And if so, are there ways we can bring more of it into our workplaces? That’s the topic of Alexander’s book, Happy Hour is 9 to 5. Alexander is the founder of Woohoo inc. and blogs over at The Chief Happiness Officer.
We recently spoke to Alexander about how leaders can encourage a more positive culture at work and also some mistakes to avoid along the way.
- What is a Chief Happiness Officer? (Should every company have one?)
The CHO title is modeled on all the other CXO titles. The CTO is in charge of technology, the CFO is responsible for the financials, the COO is head of operations, etc. And once you realize that employee happiness may be the most important success factors for a business today, it becomes essential to have a Chief Happiness Officer, someone who is the main driver in making and keeping the workplace happy.
I see more and more CHOs which is fantastic because this is one of the most important roles in the organization. They may not always be called Chief Happiness Officers – it can be the HR manager, it can be the CEO, it can even be a regular employee. The important thing is that it’s a person who sees themselves as responsible for making and keeping the organization happy.
- From your experience, what makes happy companies different from other companies?
The one thing that makes them different is that they have top executives who have a strategic focus on happy employees. They have CEOs who know that the only sustainable way to profits is to run a happy workplace and these executives refuse to compromise a positive company culture for short-term bottom line gains.
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