In an age of abundant technology such as social media, it's no surprise to see the workplace becoming less and less social.
The debate on technology versus happiness has been around for quite some time now, and the majority of reports state that technology only betters peoples' quality of life, but what about peoples' mentality? Is technology dimming our ability to be present? To be happy in a social workplace environment?
The rising surge of the use of technology in the workplace over the last decade is the leading signifier for why some workplace environments are dreaded, rather than well received.
Excessive use of technology is draining corporations of happiness. A 2015 CBS article states, "Social media users are... less likely to be socially isolated. On the flip side, social networking is linked to feelings of envy, lower self-esteem and an overall decrease in life satisfaction."
Of course, we know that everyone is impacted differently by technology, so to generalize would be incorrect. However, it is of no surprise that in corporations across the world, people have begun to isolate themselves from having excessive human interaction in the workplace, and would rather communicate via email or SMS.
This atmosphere, while possibly increasing productivity, only disconnects us from one another. Once that disconnect is fully realized, people either lose interest in their jobs or become personally dissatisfied with their work, leading to a lack of productivity and most essentially, positivity.
As employers, our companies overall goal should be to not only be productive but to have an atmosphere that makes our employees want to work. A workplace environment that doesn't promote happiness makes for an unproductive company, which defeats the purpose of even being in business. Technology decreases happiness which decreases productivity and morale, eventually causing a collapse and a desperate need for restructuring.
To be fair, many of us get caught up in the day-to-day grind of getting things done that we sometimes forget there's an entire office of other unique individuals around us.
To increase productivity and morale in the workplace, all we have to do is disconnect from technology for a while, rather than risk it all by disconnecting from each other and our employment. There are numerous ways we can get back in touch with our pre-technology ways that will increase overall happiness in not only the workplace, but our lives as well.
One of these ways is by creating workplace happiness initiatives, which are as simple as having a weekly morale meeting where everyone's ideas can be heard, a day where the office goes to a nearby park for team-building exercises or even a company retreat.
International organizations similar to the Growth and Happiness School in London are making it their mission to create more workplace happiness initiatives in offices around the world. They have programs and guides for both individual and corporations alike, to create sustainable and measurable initiatives that ensure overall happiness in the workplace, and in personal lives as well.
These initiatives guarantee the happiness of your office and therefore guarantee successful operations. According to Samantha Clarke, Founder of the Growth and Happiness School, these initiatives guarantee the happiness of your office and therefore guarantee successful operations and the development and growth of your people.
In retrospect, it is no secret that we heavily rely on technology to sustain our corporations in multiple aspects; however, we are using technology as a crutch to emulate the social aspects of a workplace that needs to get back to its roots and start focusing on human interactions and happiness.
Rather than emailing a colleague, drop by their cubicle, have a chat, and say what you would've said in the email as it very well could make someone's day that much better. If it's necessary to have it in writing, send the email afterward, but having that small conversation can make a big impact on the daily perception of an offices environment. On a larger scale, have office parties to celebrate a staff member's birthday or special occasion, or hold a brainstorming contest for new ideas or policies to implement.
Creating an environment where people know that they are valued or heard makes them happy. Having an atmosphere that exudes inclusivity and camaraderie creates productivity. Take a breather from technology, take the initiative to create workplace happiness initiatives, and watch how happy and productive everyone will be.
Barbara Van Pay is the CEO and Founder of Smart HR.