The Nordic countries have the happiest people. According to a recent study the Danes, the Norwegians, the Finns and the Swedes all rank within top ten of the world’s happiest nations.
Studies also show that companies with happy employees outperform others. When we are happy, we are more engaged, seeing the big picture, and generating creative ideas. Inevitably the question rises – how to turn the Nordic happiness into good business results? In other words, how to ensure that these happy people are innovative, connected and happy at work?
I believe that happiness of a human being stems from the interactions with others, “a shared joy is a doubled joy”. This makes me think that in order to have happy employees you must have them working together, collaborating.
Collaboration, in turn, can be supported in many ways. One way is with good workplace design. The office can be designed in such a way that it encourages people to interact instead of avoiding each other’s company.
This is not done by forcing interaction by placing everyone in an open plan office where you see and hear everyone at all times. A much better way to do this, in my view, is by offering the freedom to choose. Like in everything else, a human being is much more likely to behave in a desired manner if he can do it out of his own will and not because someone else tells him to.
Good workplace design should always start by listening to the people using the workplace. It must be understood how these people operate and what kind of things they do during the day. Based on that, the workplace is designed so that it offers a variety of areas for different activities and different personalities. And in these areas the people meet and interact in a natural and happy way, out of their own will.
Simple, isn’t it? So why isn’t every company doing it already? I think it’s because we just don’t come to think of it. At Martela somebody did, and it is already showing in the business results. So let’s get the word out, and have all the Nordic companies prosper!
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