Happy Workplace makes Happy Customers

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” – Dale Carnegie

We have discussed at length previously too that it is the employees that make or break an organization. It is the responsibility of the company to ensure that its employees remain happy, motivated and free from stress. A happy workplace makes happy customers meaning more profits and sustained success for a company. The reason for emphasizing on a happy workplace is that people are spending an increasing amount of time at office and amongst their colleagues. There are many situations daily that inadvertently cause stress and friction at the workplace leading to the employees feeling burdened and also experiencing stress related symptoms or falling prey to illnesses. This phenomenon is becoming very common and it is only now that companies are seriously looking at ways to keep stress at bay and create a happy workplace for their employees to enhance productivity and levels of customer service.

Despite the importance of a happy workplace and workforce, companies have undermined the value of laughter and humour at the workplace and have seen them as distractions from the ‘actual job’.  The traditional manner of working continues in a number of places that still believe that there is nothing like a happy workplace and people must always remain serious at office. Companies are struggling within a fierce market and the sudden surge in new companies and are prone to cut corners with regard to money and resources and putting in place more stringent policies and even changes in management. All these sudden changes leave the employees feeling stressed and unable to perform optimally at the workplace and if they have no release or way to de-stress while at work, things could go out of control quite soon. As employees become more frustrated and stressed leading to poor performance, this begins to tell on the way customers are treated. However, this exposition is aimed at understanding why laughter and humour are important for any workplace and how they positively impact overall performance of a company.

Apart from situations, co-workers can also be a major cause of stress and friction. These are uncontrollable to a large extent – as companies become more global and recruit more people from diverse backgrounds, there are bound to be differences. Unless these differences are managed well, they can adversely affected the workplace making your employees a frustrated and disgruntled lot who will have no interest in serving customers or working hard since there main concern would be to look out for themselves and put the others down. Such a work environment cannot hold for long and soon there would be chaos and high attrition – and from experience it is a well-known fact that a confused workplace leads to confused customers and soon, no customers.

Companies must ensure that they are continually aware of these situations and put together programs, training and other events that would help ease the burden. Also the leaders and top management of the company must display warmth and friendliness. They must be the ones to encourage the concept of having fun while in office such that people are more comfortable around each other and can trust each other enough to give their best without stress. The fact is that no company can expect that a sad, distracted and stressed bunch of people will provide speedy, happy and courteous service to customers and neither can they be expected to speak well of the company. Employees that are dissatisfied are also short-term and not loyal employees and will soon be on their way out and possibly influence their friends in the company to move with them. As news of internal unrest spreads, customers too go into panic mode and will soon move to a company that is internally more stable.

The reason for promoting laughter in an organization is that when people laugh together, the level of comfort and trust increases and they find themselves helping each other to cope with stress and tough situations.  When employees work together, rather than against each other, they gain fresh perspectives and find it easier to accept changing situations and their personal differences. There is more positive energy and employees are more resilient to stressful situations beyond their control. When people enjoy working together, their whole demeanour changes and they exhibit a positive attitude even when dealing with people outside the organization.

As companies realize the value of fun, laughter and humour in the organization they are also moving towards introducing their employees to wellness and positive and motivational programs.  Employees too, who have seen the benefit of remaining positive and creating a happy workplace, enthusiastically attend these programs and also use the learning from these programs in their professional and personal lives.

Tasteful and appropriate humour and genuine laughter are great ways to lighten up the work environment. We are not saying that people must be laughing and joking all the time but we are recommending that these tools be used to dispel gloominess and dullness. Laughter is uplifting and even the most ‘notoriously serious’ person can stand to gain from it.

As people in the company become more comfortable with laughing with each other, the fear of offending someone or receiving a backlash from the ‘boss’ goes away. Even the top line would be part of the happy banter and mood lightening laughter. Of course, there is always a fine balance that must be maintained – the ‘big guy’ sharing a light moment with someone should not breed over-familiarity and under no circumstance must respect for the position be diluted. With time, this balance is brought about.

A large part of the success of humour and laughter while in the workplace lies in the ability of each person to communicate clearly and use the communication to remove any misunderstandings. Many people don’t engage with others for a number of reasons and one of these could be being overworked and highly stressed. It is a vicious cycle actually – stress breaks down communication, without communication there can be no laughter and without laughter stress levels increase and further reduce communication between people. This communication too must begin with leaders and managers – they must attempt to seem less intimidating and should incorporate healthy humour and laughter while communicating with their teams and others. As the employees pick up on this behaviour, they are bound to emulate it and will soon find it rewarding. Also humour and laughter brings about openness among teams which is extremely crucial to work together and produce results for the company that in turn would positively impact the customers and the bottom-line. Good managers, with a great sense of humour, can be a major influencing power for a company and would be able to lead employees to work at their optimum.

The benefits of a happy workplace also include reduced absenteeism, increased rate of punctuality and a set of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to make the company successful. Make no mistake – just as positive word of mouth from customers has a great impact, positivity exuding from employees is a powerful magnet that attracts more people and keeps customers longer. Employee loyalty breeds customer loyalty thereby improving and enhancing the chances of success for the company.

It is a mistake to underestimate the efficacy and benefits of laughter and humour in the workplace, provided it is appropriate, timely and regulated so as to not disrupt the normal working of the company. However, you use laughter and humour, there is no denying that the dullest and most ‘boring ‘company will benefit from a happy workplace.

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