When the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago asked which jobs made people happiest, most of the top-10 occupations involved creating a product, engaging the senses, or helping others.
The ten most hated jobs, on the other hand, had a significant proportion of people stuck on a laptop.
In his article “How office dwellers can become doers,” Steve Faktor argues that we need to improve happiness at workplaces by enabling people to do all of this.
For product companies, engage employees more in the product building – send them to factories, keep prototypes and samples lying around, and allow for “building projects” like decorating the office.
Engaging the senses can be done by livening up work spaces, introducing more plants, having 15-minute stand up meetings and standing desks, and killing unnecessary document preparation. Allow for more employee interaction and mutual help with office sports leagues and team cook-offs.
As Steve points out, happiness at work cannot be downloaded. We need to make it happen.
‘My last traditional office job was leading growth and innovation at a Fortune 100 company. From the outside, you might think my job was a cauldron of experimentation that at any moment could produce a cure for cancer or The Incredible Hulk. No such luck. Most days were a potpourri of emails, meetings, and sensory dead-ends.’ | Steve Faktor