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What Does It Take to Be Happy?


March 21, 2019

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What Does It Take to Be Happy?

At Atypic, we have an English bulldog with a contagious smile. A royal poodle who creates a sense of calm. Yoga sessions. Chair massages. A running club. Big windows. Kitchen encounters with inspiring creative thinkers. Flextime.

And now, we also have a Director of Happiness.

It was Mélissa Croteau herself who suggested the title, which sums up her motivation for wanting the Executive Committee position. The position had been created so that an employee could represent his or her colleagues and ensure that the company took employees’ needs, priorities, ideas and well-being into account in all its decisions.

After all, happiness at work is a no laughing matter! And Léger has even come up with an index to measure it.

You can calculate your own Léger Happiness Index at Work (LHI-W) here.

I did it myself and got a score that was higher than the Québec average. Congratulations, Atypic!

Want to know what has given my happiness index a real boost recently? I spoke up about my desire to take on a bigger role in one particular area of our activities—handling major campaigns—and my wish was not only heard, but granted on the spot!

One of my colleagues recently had her desire to lead more brainstorming sessions, both in-house and with our clients, fulfilled as well. For someone else, it was the setting he worked in that no longer allowed him to give his 100%; he was able to choose another location at the agency that suited him better (not taking for granted that everyone is a fan of open-plan offices is already a sign that the head honchos are listening!).

This article published in Le Devoir explains that the LHI-W is based on six factors: self-fulfilment, workplace relationships, recognition, empowerment, compensation and the feeling of belonging. It also assesses eight important aspects: openness, civility, work organization, collaboration, equity, advancement, drive and work-life balance.

The average Quebecer’s employer doesn’t pass the test. The biggest shortcoming? Recognition. This factor refers not only to compensation, which is often considered to be insufficient on its own, but to “pride”—one of the factors that motivates people to work—which should be cultivated more than it is. Workers like to feel that their expertise, their individual touch and their personality are needed.

That feeling of pride can come from employers, colleagues or clients! Personally, I always give top marks to anyone who responds eloquently to a proposal, who gives lots of feedback about my work, who recognizes the effort made and then makes constructive comments afterward.

Among the possible avenues for raising the LHI-W, Léger’s experts mention consulting and listening to employees, giving employees a role in decision-making, and allowing for improved work-life balance.

My employer is innovative in its efforts to achieve the first two of these goals. And taking time off to attend a special activity at your children’s school or for some other personal reason, even if it means finishing your work another time, has always been a  fact of life here. But most important of all, to my mind, is the people. Their humility, their sensitiveness, their collaboration and their humour. It’s also critical to know how to work toward achieving what’s best for you. And to constantly find a meaning in what you do.

My LHI-W is high these days.

How’s yours?

Photo: Creating a sense of calm is our beautiful Leika’s full-time job!