The fundamentals of joy

5There lies a marked distinction between joy and happiness; one that psychologists and scientists struggle to define. However, until they reach a conclusion, let’s think of joy as an intense momentary experience of positive emotion, one that makes us smile and want to jump up and down.  While happiness is how good you feel over time, joy is about feeling good in the moment.  Therefore, even though I refuse to be held responsible for employee happiness, I can definitely work towards bringing joy into the workplace.

The good news is that some things that bring universal joy. While rainbows, fireworks and cherry blossoms can’t be brought into the workplace (at least not without remarkable effort), bubbles, googly eyes and ice cream cones with sprinkles definitely can be. Little stops us from bringing in bright colours, images and greenery into the office. New office spaces world-over have moved towards creating a more joyful environment. You don’t have to think hard to find examples. Many workplaces also let you bring your pet to work every day. Research conducted across four countries showed that people working in colorful office are more confident, alert and friendlier than who do not. Nevertheless, you do not necessarily need to redesign the work space to bring in joy. There are simpler ways to do so.

Look for opportunities to celebrate. Success and failures should be both celebrated and learnt from. Use these as excuses to bring in flowers, balloons and lots of cheer. Hand out plants as birthday gifts. Don’t hesitate to say a good word about someone who deserves it and a clap helps too. Did you know a team that laughs together innovates together? Don’t be a sour puss. Encourage goofiness and create a laughter-friendly office.

When did you last see someone jumping up and down or hop around the office? Is that why Friday Fun became a thing? I’m glad organizing fun events no longer features in my to-do list, however, if that is what it takes to bring in some joy to work then so be it. But I’d take spontaneous un-manufactured joy any day.

I’m curious – does your workplace bring you joy?

P.S: This post was heavily inspired by this TED talk. Also, if you are curious on which color represents joy best, take a look at this.


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