Positive Emotions in the Workplace

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Be positive. Look on the bright side. Something good will come from this. Find the silver lining. We have all heard and said these cliché statements many times throughout our lives. But the fact is when you are facing challenges and disappointments, these sayings are not pragmatic.  


Every person in the world has been touched by the challenges of 2020. Focusing on the positive when life seems to keep delivering so much negativity can feel wrong, impractical, and inauthentic. Businesses are struggling, and millions of people have been affected by the pandemic. We have truly experienced an abundance of lows in 2020. 


[Cliché alert] Our lows can bring about positive changes in our organizations and within ourselves. At DH, we believe in the Science of Happiness and understand that our highs and lows create our values and values help discover our passion and that passion drives our purpose.   


Why does this matter? Because purpose-driven companies experience increased profits. 


Creating a values-based, purpose-driven organization begins with building a positive workplace culture. So, how do you build a positive workplace culture? By focusing on positive emotions. 


The Harvard Business Review reports the connection between optimism [positive emotion] at work and increased profits. One survey showed what happens when a company focused on implementing initiatives to focus on company culture and infuse positivity in the workplace. The results were “62% [of employees] reported being happy at work, 85% felt connected at work, burnout fell to 6%, high stress dropped by 30%, profits increased by 10M and record gross revenue achieved.” 


Now that you see the results positive emotions have in the workplace, how can you utilize them in your organization? 


Take the DHI SURVEY to measure individual happiness in your workplace. 


There are 10 common positive emotions, but we will focus on 2 of these emotions: Joy and inspiration and how they impact the workplace. 


What is Joy? 


Joy is defined as “vibrant happiness” or “deep-rooted inspired happiness.” Joy is an explosion of happiness felt with our core. Now think about what brings you joy. Is it money, material items? Fame, success, and fortune? These things may give you a false sense of joy, but in fact, the actual emotion you get from material things is pleasure, not happiness, and indeed not joy. 


Pleasure is fleeting; it has a timeline and expiration date. Pleasure is dependent upon external factors that are mostly out of your control. Joy and happiness are results of something deeper, more meaningful. These emotions are embedded in passion, purpose, and inspiration. 


What is Inspiration?


When was the last time you were truly inspired? Did you find inspiration in the elegant words of American poet laureate Amanda Gorman as she recited, “We are striving to forge a union with purpose?” Did you feel its call as you witnessed the selfless acts of healthcare workers as they battle the COVID virus while risking their own lives? 


Whether you find inspiration in people, actions, or within the pages of a book, it makes you want to do something, to act. Inspiration moves you to action or, at the very least, to a plan for action. Inspiration is a driving force behind initiative, enterprise, accomplishment, and success. 


Inspired people “reported having a stronger drive to master their work” and are “more intrinsically motivated and less extrinsically motivated, variables that also strongly impact work performance,” according to this article in the Harvard Business Review. 


Ways You Can Encourage Positive Emotions in the Workplace


Give your team a sense of ownership. Give them the freedom to make some decisions that directly affect them. One way you can accomplish this is by providing flextime. This will empower your team because it makes them feel in control of their schedule and their time. Giving your team ownership in some areas shows you trust them, which creates a feeling of joy. 


Be an authentic and transparent leader. When you show up as your true authentic self, it allows your team to be true to themselves too. This evokes a feeling of safety and can lead to at least a 12% increase in productivity!  


Are you ready to realize the impact of postive emotion? DH offers virtual & on site solutions to help you encourage positive emotions within your workplace. 

People Strategy Sessions

About the Author

Amanda Marksmeier

Amanda is the Growth Content Driver at DH. She has been writing and creating engaging content for nearly five years. She loves to use words to inspire and connect with people. Amanda thrives on helping and serving others through the power of the written word. She is always on the search for new and inventive ways to reach and educate others.


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