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How do you make sure that joy does not slide off the agenda at your workplace?

It seems like a stretch but we need it now more than ever!

Photo of a group of coworkers having a happy occasion and celebrating together in their office
Photo of a group of coworkers having a happy occasion and celebrating together in their office

“Joy collected over time fuels resilience.” Brené Brown.

Most workplaces have explored resilience training at some point.  They have recognised it is important to ensure their team have as many skills as possible in their toolkit to help them through the challenges that life presents from time to time.  Well this of course this is one of those times!  What we have in front of us is most certainly a marathon and not a sprint.

 More than ever we will need to be resilient.  For most of us the link between joy and resilience makes sense.  That moments of joy can buoy us and helps us to refuel which allows to handle just a little bit more.   Whilst we may be able to see this; practically speaking how do we bring this to the front of our mind?  When there are so many priorities how do we make sure this does not slide off the agenda? How can we collect joy?

Keeping joy on the agenda needs to be part of our workplace planning. We plan and problem solve to keep people well whilst at work and then we plan for people to transition to working from home arrangements where possible. Can we also at least pose the question to our teams as they head off; or whilst they are still at work where is the joy?  

Absolutely it seems like a stretch with everything else we are facing but we are going to need to tap into our resilience resources more than ever before.   When we are planning for how the business gets done maybe we can also plan for a little joy.  We need to remember that what we “do” at work for many of us provides regular opportunities to laugh with one another or at one another and sometimes at ourselves.  It is this connection and the incidental joy of work that help us get through the tough stuff and there is some tough stuff ahead.   So just as you organise laptops and IT licenses and the work gets delegated; perhaps you can ask the question that I discussed with a team last week which is where will you find the joy? It only took us 15 minutes to explore how this might look for them but in that time there were plenty of suggestions to make sure that when they head to their homes it is with some ideas about connecting in a way that does not just involve the business part of work but the human side.  Now more than ever I think most of us are feeling a little more in touch with our human side so it is important to make plans for this part of our working life.

The team I worked with looked at keeping a journal to record joy every day and share something at the weekly zoom meeting.  Maybe it will not be everyone’s cup of tea and this was recognised but if you change one person’s life isn’t it worth it.?  You might also have people send an email to their team at the end of their workday noting something that has made them happy.  You might nominate an internal champion a “Joy Captain” to keep the wheels turning in the weeks ahead.  People might send photos of their pets, their kids, their garden just something outside of the work of the day that made them smile.  Maybe a neighbour shared some of their baking, brought their bins in or mowed the lawn on their footpath and it made them recognise that we are all in this together and it made the load feel just a little lighter and this is something they can share with the group.  These might all be things that happen from time to time organically but in challenging times we all know that it is routines that keep us afloat.  We can’t just hope this happens we need to establish some routines around collecting joy which will guarantee that it will happen.

There are hard times ahead and I am not for one second suggesting joy alone will be the answer.  But what I did notice the other day when I was reading about Italy’s lockdown, I saw some footage of a man playing his trumpet out of his window and it made me smile and it felt good.  There was probably not much about the lockdown that me feel positive in fact it made me feel concerned and anxious.  We know that being able to feel this type of happiness even just for a moment can reduce our anxiety and this can then support our immunity.  Thus, by reminding people to find the joy we are not only fuelling their resilience but also we are supporting their health and wellbeing and that most certainly needs to be on the agenda.  As your staff head into this next stage make sure that collecting joy is on the agenda.  It seems like a stretch but we need it now more than ever!

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