A month has almost passed since International Happiness Day, a concept that was pioneered by a small South Asian country, Bhutan. This country started measuring Gross National Happiness, for sustainable development, in a world that predominantly measures progress by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It is International Happiness Day that marked the introduction of a Happiness Index to measure countries’ progress, recognising that the true development of a country is based on its people’s level of satisfaction.
Happiness Index measures a country’s happiness, based on six variables — income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and the generosity of its people.
People make their income at their workplaces, and often spend more than 50 per cent of the active part of their day there. That means, it is at our workplaces where happiness has to first emerge.
Let me ask you something. Have you gauged how you contribute or engage at work, when you are happy? All your bright ideas come when you are in good spirits, right?
So, happiness brings out productivity in individuals, and in turn, yields a monetary benefit to any organisation. Can we then say that organisations will flourish if they keep their employees happy?
What should organisations do? It is not enough to just celebrate happiness on March 20 each year. It is not a single day’s event. Instead, it should be a continuous measure that organisations should strive for. I would say — dear corporations, please keep your employees happy. A happy person would be more productive and help produce better results. Better results generate more monetary rewards, which, in effect, allows the organisation and the country at large to prosper.
In a prosperous country, people spread happiness and feel more secure and tend to spend money to seek more happiness. It is like a ripple effect. The key is how well the country, and the organisations in it, embrace the need to keep people happy.
Define the Happiness Index for your organisation, just like many countries do, and see the positive and progressive correlation to productivity, which will be measurable. Every day should be International Happiness Day.
- The reader is an internal audit manager and blogger based in Abu Dhabi.