Happiness in the Workplace: Whose job is it?

Posted by Prospect‘s Asia Pacific Team

Last week we hosted our Happiness in the Workplace event where we invited public relations and communications professionals in Hong Kong to debate the topic: who is really in charge of our happiness at work?

Especially when it comes to the public relations industry – a sector studded with long hours, deadlines, client pressures and late-night calls – how do we attain that elusive work life balance when so much of it is out of our control?

The issue of happiness is an interesting one: Happiness is subjective and isn’t merely the result of an absence of sadness. Rather it comes organically from doing things we enjoy, in the company of others whom we like. But when it comes to work, how can we make the most of being happy for those hours we’re in the office?

Many Hong Kong companies have taken steps in improving the culture of the workplace for their employees; breakout areas, improved F&B facilities, fruit water and even, pull-up bars have been dutifully installed to blur the lines between leisure and work time, but do these actually make a difference when we just want to reclaim our time out of the office and keep track of our mental health?

Our amazing panellists all had their own perspectives, reflecting their diverse backgrounds:

And from their expertise we formed the following takeaways we’ll try and apply to our own lives:

  • Happiness is a mindset and it is up to us as employees to take ownership of our own happiness
  • We need to be mindful that our mental states are fluid and change each day – it is unrealistic to be happy all the time!
  • Have your own value system – don’t live to anyone else’s – and living in line with that
  • It is an often used saying but can be hard to put into practice – we cannot control situations and other people, but we can certainly control how we respond and how much time we spend on them
  • Recognise your colleagues as people outside of work. When they’re not sitting across from you, they’re someone else’s mother, father, daughter, son or partner and they all have lives going on outside
  • From a company perspective, leaders need to set the example with their behaviour and actions, making time for their own happiness and ways of managing their wellbeing which can be observed by employees
  • Companies should be aware of simply throwing money at the problem in the form of team activities like laser tag or away days if the root causes of employee disengagement aren’t addressed – everyone dreads ‘enforced fun’
  • If you’re someone who remembers things mnemonically, try thinking of happiness as P.E.R.K – have Purpose, Engage with others, maintain Resilience in times of difficulty and practise Kindness as often as you can

We’d like to say thank you to all of our friends and guests who joined us for the evening, we’ve had great feedback already so stay tuned for our next event and keep an eye out for our fantastic open job roles in PR and communications.