Can you measure happiness? That is a question that we often get from our clients when we address happiness at work. From our own experience, we can finally say: “Yes, you can.” Professors such as Robert Cummins (Deakin University – Australia) and Daniel Gilbert (Harvard – United States) share that opinion.
For better or worse
According to Robert Cummins you can measure happiness if you regard happiness as a state of being that is more or less a constant. Every human being is born with a genetically determined value of happiness. You can measure this by asking: ‘How happy do you feel at X moment?’ Professor of Psychology, Daniel Gilbert, also claims that happiness is measurable. In the article ‘The science behind the smile’ he explains the principle: “It is no different than tting a pair of glasses. The optician places a glass lens in front of someone’s eye and asks: ‘better or worse?’ By doing so, the optician collects subjective data with which he is able to judge the strength of the glasses or lenses objectively. The same goes for happiness. By asking regularly, you will be able to get a good image of someone’s state of happiness.
If this is the case, then how can you improve someone’s feeling of happiness? According to Gilbert, you can achieve this in the same manner as one might lose weight: “by structurally working on it for a prolonged length of time, in practical little steps, that you can repeat and measure. By doing this, you can see results and that motivates to continue.”
Happiness and work
One of his conclusions states that there is a signi cant connection between work performance of employees and the opportunities they get within the company to flourish. Conditions that contribute to a better work culture can influence the performance considerably. He concludes that the actual work of happy and unhappy employees is not fundamentally different. There is, however, a connection between the performances of employees and the opportunities that they get. These are conditions that actually contribute to a better company culture and thus influence someone achievements at work.
Methods to measure
Research bureau Soffos measures, with the aid of a questionnaire, how happy someone feels at work. The questions are based on seven dimensions: talent development, work satisfaction, mental fitness, work climate, relationships with colleagues, productivity & meaning and personal leadership. For more information see: soffos.eu.
Does someone experience their work as boring or stressful? How proud and fit are the employees? How content is someone about the guidance they receive? The Happiness at Work survey re- searches how organisations score on the forty elements that are most influential on happiness at work. The results are then compared with the Dutch benchmark. For more information see: haws. nl.
Onno Hamburger and Ad Bergsma explain in their book ‘Gelukkig Werken’ how you can enhance happiness at work based on the so-called ‘Happiness Compass’. Work is divided into three aspects: pleasure, satisfaction and meaning. Based on several statements you can find out on which points you are content with and which points need more work. For more information about the ‘Happiness Scan’ see: gelukkigwerken.nl