As a follow-up to my last post regarding Steve Jobs and his message to the Stanford graduating class of 2005 (and court reporters), I did some research on job happiness and came across an article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Happiness Dividend” by Harvard Teaching Fellow Shawn Achor, founder of Good Think, Inc.
Achor begins his article with statistics from the Conference Board Survey and CNNMoney that 84% of the working population is unhappy with their jobs and that employees are the unhappiest they have been in the past 22 years since the Board started tracking job happiness. He goes on to state, “the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research proves that happiness raises every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks (important for court reporters) by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.”
Given Achor’s research, the question is not whether happiness should matter to firms, but what can a firm do to raise the level of happiness of their staff and court reporters/videographers?
“The first thing for everyone to do is recognize that happiness is an advantage at work.” As Achor states, “This will encourage you to seek happiness in the present instead of waiting for a future success.” And he goes on, “You can literally train your brain for higher levels of happiness at work by creating habits to increase job satisfaction.” Here are five suggestions on how to change your happiness factor:
- Write down three new things you are grateful for each day
- Write two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours
- Exercise for at least ten minutes a day
- Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath in and out (breathe from stomach)
- Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team
From reading Achor’s article, I have come to the conclusion that happiness can become a habit, and one of the keys to success is becoming conscious of the good things in your life and appreciating others around you. I don’t believe anyone wants to be miserable at work or on the job. Sometimes things come up that are beyond your control (tough witness that speaks with a heavy accent about new technology) or court reporters turn in their work with wrong dates or email addresses, and the production team has to send it back and/or re-print a job. But I bet during those days when things seem to be extra difficult or jobs come in with lots of little mistakes, there is probably a positive thing that happened as well, and that is what needs to be focused on. (Another suggestion is to play happy music when it is an extra tough day.)
As Achor writes, “investing in happiness pays great.” I wish for all court reporters, legal videographers, and court reporting staff a happy 2012 and thus much prosperity.