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The 4 Pillars Of Happiness At Work

10 min read
Last Updated on 21 March, 2023

People often associate work with stress and something they endure rather than enjoy. However, it is not the only narrative. So, how do you change this narrative? How can you make sure your workplace is a happy place? The concept of happiness is not one size fits all but rather subjective. Still, the question remains the same !

Happiness in the workplace comes with the power to make a choice. When you think of happiness and work, the most common answer is to have autonomy and feel a sense of enjoyment with the time spent there.

Again, what makes an organization stand out is its ability to be aware of its employees' physical and mental well-being. To be secure enough to give their employees the power to make few choices, a sense of purpose, and to provide them with a sense of belonging, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Although much research has been done on improving happiness at work, the best method that's been found so far is to extract key elements from the four pillars of happiness.

If you want your employees to be content, your workplace culture should allow you to include the 4 pillars of happiness in your health and wellness program.

This article will help you explore and understand the 4 pillars of happiness at work and why it is important for employees and the organization.

What Do You Mean By Happiness At Work?


“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
— Aristotle

When you think of happiness, the most common answer would be a sense of joy or amusement. It is not a momentary emotional state of mind but a stream of positive experiences. Happiness is an overarching quality of life rich in various emotions, including sadness, anger, or even stress.

There are many different models of what makes people happy. The most important conclusion is that happiness is something else for everyone, and it's not a one-size-fits-all. There is no hack when it comes to happiness, and hacking only trivializes happiness as little more than a feeling.

Unlike the common misconception, happiness doesn't come naturally. It is your responsibility, and only through habits can you achieve satisfaction.

Happiness at work can be defined as -

  • The overall feeling of enjoyment at work.

  • Being able to handle setbacks and constructive criticism.

  • Better social connection with colleagues, clients, and customers.

  • The sense of being seen heard and appreciated.

  • Knowing that you and your work matter to yourself, the organization, and beyond.

However, one thing you know is that all these approaches have a lot in common: they are all extracted from the four pillars of Happiness at Work.

Suggested Read : Social Wellness: A Determining Factor For Employee Wellness At Work

Why Is Happiness Important At Work?


Happiness at work sounds more like an oxymoron because work is generally related to anxiety, stress, and even depression rather than positive emotions. You can argue the whole day about what happiness is at work, but the most important question is why is it important. Why do you need a happier workplace?

"Happiness is the highest form of health. - Dalai Lama"

One of the key elements of happiness at work is "mattering," which refers to the belief that your actions make a difference in the world and that you are worthy at work. The satisfaction you get from your work contributes to the organization's overall success and from being recognized for it.

Happiness at work has many benefits and is tied to many desirable outcomes that any individual or workplace could hope to achieve.

Good health is one of the most important factors for happiness.According to World Happiness Reporta long and healthy life is highly correlated with the Happiness Index..

A happy workforce leads to a healthier workforce.The happier and more content your employees are at work, the healthier they are. Employees' physical and mental well-being improves when they are in a happier state of mind.

Being happier at work also leads to better productivity and creativity at work. Content employees are more productive and effective when it comes to problem-solving. When your employees' state of mind is clear, they become more innovative and faster at learning.

Employees who are happy at work are more committed and driven to work. They are more likely to be satisfied with their work and are willing to contribute beyond their job description as they find meaning and purpose in their work.

People who are happy at work are less likely to experience stress. They are better at dealing with and recovering from stress and managing conflicts at work.

If your employees are happy, it leads to less turnover, lower health costs, and more efficiency. It also helps to promote employee loyalty and encourage employee retention.

Suggested Read : Productivity and Physical Activity- What's the correlation between the two?

The Importance Of Happiness In The Workplace

It is impossible to overstate the importance of happiness at work. In order to achieve employee satisfaction and employee happiness, it is important to understand the difference between the two. It is possible to be satisfied at work but not necessarily happy.

Fostering a more engaged workforce begins with focusing more on employee satisfaction. In general, engaged employees are generally happier and more productive than those who are just satisfied with their jobs.

The benefits of working with happy and engaged employees are many, but why is it so crucial for an organization's success? Well, it is a catalyst for success and staying competitive in the global talent marketplace.

In addition, providing a healthy and happy work environment to your employees will have a snowball effect on your company, so you should emphasize your employees' happiness index as part of your wellness program.

Here are some of the benefits of having happy and engaged employees in the workplace -

  • Enhanced teamwork and relationships among workers

  • Increased productivity levels and creative thinking

  • Improved employee engagement

  • Reduced risks of frequent burnout

  • Reduced absenteeism

What Are The Four Pillars Of Happiness At Work?


There are a lot of factors that can affect your happiness every day. But according to positive psychology, there are pillars to happiness, and it believes that your life can be improved if all pillars or conditions are met. Similarly, you can ensure happiness at work by supporting and improving the pillars of happiness as a part of your workplace culture.

To ensure your team or employees feel the happiest in the workplace, you must embrace the four Ps, the pillars of happiness. They are-

1. Positivity.

Positivity at work can include gratitude, positive thinking, and the growth of your employees' mindset. Laughter and a fun work environment can create a better workplace atmosphere, creativity, and happiness.

Also, optimists or people with positive attitudes are more likely to be successful and grow in their careers than those who are not. If your employees are always looking at the negative side of their work-life, then there is a high chance that they will likely miss out on opportunities and happiness on the table without them even realizing it.

Instead of looking at the glass as a half-empty perspective, try to influence their perspective by letting them focus more on the positive things in their life as a part of their daily tasks. It will further help them to engage in activities and work with a more positive attitude.

"A pessimist sees the negatives or the difficulty in every opportunity, whereas an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. — Winston Churchill's"

Here are a few ways you can ensure happiness in your workplace by spreading positivity-

  • Introduce a gratitude challenge as part of your wellness challenges.

  • Create more fun activities and sessions like games, outdoor activities, and retreats.

  • Create an engaging and healthy work environment with more openness and transparent policies.

  • Lead by example and inspire your employees to be more positive.

2. Purpose


Having a purpose in life is one of the most fundamental aspects of happiness. It is the reason why you get out of your bed. Without it, life would be meaningless and can contribute to many negative factors affecting your mental health. You'd feel more stressed and restless in life and not just at work, and you might feel less efficient and aligned with your work.

Similarly, even in the workplace, you should be aware of yours and your organization's purpose to ensure all the pillars of happiness. What does it mean to you, and what is the end goal? Do your organization's values align with your values, and if so, how do they achieve them?

You and your organization's purpose must align with each other; only then can the organization achieve most of its goals and employee job satisfaction.

Again, it helps the employees find meaning in their work and get more engaged. It leads them to think of their purpose in serving the organization and motivates them to thrive for the best.

Here are a few ways what purpose at work can look like -

  • It reflects your core values and behaviors, which you can further bring to the workplace by asserting more passion for working. It also helps you formulate and conduct your day-to-day tasks with more meaning rather than just embracing your status quo.

  • You can also promote purpose in your workplace by clarifying core values and implementing more flexible policies that align with your workforce's core values.

  • Enforcing more policies that appreciate and recognize your employees' hard work rather than just monetary benefits like yearly bonuses can also make your workplace culture stand out from the rest.

3. Progress

"Happiness comes from progress. Progress shows up in the form of growth and in a sense of contribution. -Tony Robbins"

Progress is not passive but more dynamic. It is not just merely achieving your goals or deadlines at work but is more holistic. It has to do a lot with your overall health and perspective towards work and how it affects your personal life.

Resilience is one of the key factors when it comes to workplace happiness. If you are not resilient at work, you'd probably experience burnout. Your ability to adapt, handle and productively react to setbacks and failure at work contributes greatly to your overall happiness index since it also affects your mental health.

Progress at work occurs when your successes are celebrated, and you are autonomous and responsible. Achieving the perfect balance between challenge and growth is the key to success.

Here's how you can observe what progress in a workplace can look like -

  • It is not always about being able to prevent obstacles or overcome stress at work. But it is about meeting and managing social challenges at work with more authenticity and effectiveness.

  • It is about being more mindful of your resilience at work. You can try mindfulness at work to be more aware of your setbacks and how to handle challenges.

  • A key factor in employee progress is their well-being. The corporate world now prioritizes wellness, and a healthy employee is more valuable than any machine. Progress includes your health as well. Taking on challenges is easier when you are physically and mentally happy.

Suggested Read : Top 10 Benefits Of An Employee Wellness Program

4. People


The last and fourth pillar of happiness at work is people and your social connection. How you are with your colleagues, and your dynamic regarding working together plays an important role in workplace happiness.

There are questions that you would ask yourself, whether you trust your colleagues? Are you given the room to be yourself? How vulnerable are you?

Workplace relationship dynamics are as important as your personal ones. If you cannot find yourself comfortable enough to agree with any of the above questions, your workplace may not be healthy.

"The people in your life are like the pillars of your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on you.And sometimes it's enough to know that they are standing by. -Merle Shain"

Again, to promote healthy workplace relationships and social integration, being kind to one another is the first step. Remember, it is the soft skills that make you a leader and not just your technical skills. You can achieve it only when you're happy at work. Happy employees are more likely to be empathetic towards others and can take constructive criticism without any enmity.

Here are a few ways you can create a safe and happy work environment for work relations to flourish -

  • Creating a safe culture where vulnerability, openness, and honesty are shown and not judged.

  • When showing gratitude or admitting one's faults, lead by example.

  • Paying more attention to each other and taking time to build credibility.

  • By expressing genuine appreciation and recognizing your colleagues' efforts.

Suggested Read : 50 Rewards And Recognition Ideas To Boost Employee Recognition

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Are The Pillars Of Happiness?

The pillars of happiness are the essential elements that contribute to your overall happiness and well-being. There are several different models that identify different pillars of happiness, but some common ones include positive relationships, purpose and meaning, physical health, financial security, and personal growth.

2. What Are The 5 Pillars Of Happiness?

According to Seligman, happiness is determined by five elements: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement. These elements are often referred to as PERMA, the acronym for their name.

3. Why Are The Pillars Of Happiness So Important ?

The pillars of happiness are important as it helps you to identify the areas of your life that may be lacking and might need the necessary steps to improve your overall well-being. By focusing on the pillars of happiness you can increase your sense of fulfillment and purpose in life.

Summing It Up

Thus happiness at work is essential, like happiness in life. It is one of the most basic human aspirations and an attractive perk a workplace can offer as part of its wellness program. It is not about creating an office with free food and coffee, but more about creating a culture of both fun and happiness are the key ingredients.

You can create a better work environment by encouraging and embracing the four Ps of happiness.

I hope this article helped you better understand the basic fundamentals of long-term happiness and how it can benefit you and your organization.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to

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