There are two well researched ways to achieve Arbejdsglæde. I would add a third… playfulness.
Last week the @AFR announced its Best Places to Work List.
It made me think about something we have been practicing at work lately which is Joy. Feeling joyful at … and… about work.
Alexander Kjerulf, a Danish happiness-at-work expert and author who has amassed a huge following says:
“Work can and should be a place where we thrive, not just survive. When we experience joy at work, we’re more productive, creative, and engaged, and we’re more likely to stay with our organizations for the long term. Joy is a key ingredient in building a positive, high-performing workplace culture.”
He is saying that it is important to feel happiness and not just satisfied. He explains that there is a perfect word in his language that describes this feeling of joy and happiness at work…. Arbejdsglæde. It is a word that exists only in Nordic languages (Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Icelandic). It is not in common use in any other language on the planet. Those Scandi’s really get language.
So how can we feel joy at work
What are the key drivers? Kjerulf says there are two simple ways to achieve Arbejdsglæde.
- Meaningful relationships: Working with people who are actively building positive relationships to foster belonging and support and,
- Success at work: Individual achievements, working efficiently and productively, hitting personal milestones and; building a great business that is doing what it has planned to do and doing it well.
I would add a third.
- Playfulness: Creating moments of fun, being curious, having adventurous conversations, encouraging different ways to doing things, and yes.. being funny… all add up to a joyful workplace.
So where do you start building a joyful workplace? Start with the third.
- Create a new tradition for your team. (Every Thursday we ‘do our Goddess cards’. It’s fun, it creates interesting discussion points, we learn something new about eachother and we look forward to it.)
- Celebrate key milestones. – work ones and team ones.
- Use interesting phrases and words when talking about mundane things. I am always reminded of Caroline Ahern’s character in her show Mrs Merton going into the audience and running a segment called ‘Let’s have a heated debate’. When discussions get tough, we use that phrase!
Creating joy at work is a practice. Some days you will feel joyful, others you will not. But it is up to all of us to drive the business in that direction. If your team is all aligned on wanting joy, then start with playfulness.