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At work we are often way too busy in order to get everything done in time. That often means that we don’t take the time to listen to each other or leave room in our schedule to compliment others. That’s a shame because genuine attention can make you happy. Luckily there are people and organisations that are naturally good at this. Like Van Der Steenhoven Lawyers, where genuine a ention is fundamental to the organisation.

Our top priority is to deliver an out standing service to our clients, but we also value the time to be at the most important moments of our employees careers. “When interns start at our firm, have their first plead exercise or are to be sworn in as a lawyer, we’d like to take a moment to really appreciate it,” tells Ester Kalis, Managing partner with Van Der Steenhoven Lawyers. “That is why we organise a drink, a present and a personal note. If an intern is to be sworn in, we also invite parents, family and friends. That is appreciated. That also shows in the results as employees tend to stay here for a longer time, often straight out of their internships. I also speak from personal experience, no hair on my head would be thinking about leaving this company.”


“Despite never calling it by its name, I have been working on happiness at work for quite some time now,” continues Ester. “In 2012 I was in Bhutan and I found it inspiring to see how other people deal with happiness. It is one of the most important factors of their progress. While in the Netherlands we mostly care about numbers, percentages, billable hours and profit. Off course, this is important as well, but in the end it is about the person behind the organisation.


“You need to cherish the fun and good people within a company,” is Ester’s opinion. “Because of my colleagues, I look forward to go to work every day.” To enhance that feeling of happiness at work, Van Der Steenhoven Lawyers decided to rename 2017 to ‘the year of happiness at work’. “Putting the happiness of our employees first, is common sense. It is not only of importance to everyone working here but also to our office. I believe that people who are more happy at work are easier to cooperate with, are more connected to the company and are a lot more creative. That ensures that the organization thrives.


Van Der Steenhoven Lawyers launched their 2017 theme, happiness at work, just before Christmas with a workshop called ‘Happiness@work’. “A good start, where we looked at what the de ni- tion of happiness at work actually is and how we can move towards being a happy organization. We all made a plan of action to enhance our own happiness at work in 2017. Whilst we are good at celebrating milestones, we have a lot to achieve when it comes to taking time for each other and giving compliments. These are examples of issues we have named during the workshop and de- cided to make them actual ‘points of action’. To implement this, we’ve bought a cardmill with feedbackcards so that it will take little effort to thank someone with a card or wish them good luck. A while back I found one of the cards to wish me luck, in one of my dossiers. I thought that was a great surprise.


Christmas gifts
At the end of the workshop, all employees received a fitting Christmas gift. Eight practical tips to enhance happiness at work, symbolized by a small present. There were Christmas cards with the stamp already on them, chocolate to share with someone you hold dear, happiness planner and an announcement to a lunch meeting about vitality, healthy living and mindfulness. The Christmas gift made happiness at work, and what you can do to improve it very speci c. Everyone could pretty much start right away. The next year we will take on happiness at work as a goal in assessments and meetings. As management we need to create space for everyone to implement happiness at work, but in the end, everyone is responsible for their own happiness.

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