The Role of PERK in Enhancing Happiness at Workplace

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Happiness in the workplace is a buzz word nowadays. Forums, discussions, workshops, and seminars are organized to guide us to the path of happiness. But is it really happening? This is a key question.  

Enhancing happiness needs a sneak peek in PERK where P stands for purpose, E for Engagement, R for Resilience, and K for Kindness. These four elements account for the happiness of employees in contemporary workplaces. A successful manager and enthusiastic workforce aim to attain PERK in order to be happy in the workplace. But again we stop to ask how to use PERK. Let me elaborate!

Every organization frames a mission and vision for achieving a set of goals. So it is important for employees to reflect on their core values and feel purposeful at work. Managers must instill a sense of passion and purpose through ethical means in the way employees perform their work. Further, the manager could also promote purpose by making core values explicit at the workplace, and implementing policies that align people’s day-to-day experiences with core values. As Swarthmore College Professor Barry Schwartz explains, we want to see how our progress is tied to meaningful, important, and self-transcendent impact in the world.

Engagement at work comes with enjoyment and fun. Managers and employees should include some playfulness, creativity, humor, and levity at work. It is also vital to develop a sense of ownership among employees. Flow at work is critical and organizations are now moving from hectic, meeting-clogged, multitasking and devise-notification laden schedule to more encouraging and uninterrupted periods of deep work concept. Some international organizations like Southwest Airlines and Zappos have earned a reputation for engaging employees in positive ways. 

Resilience is all about bouncing back to normal performance and productivity after setbacks and failures. The best technique for doing this is mindfulness. Being mindful can be the starting point of having a better opinion of self, revising our old learned habits of self-criticism and self-blame.

Managers can create a culture of being mindful. Further, employees can also be authentic in order to be more mindful. Mindfulness can be enhanced through non-work related wellness and charitable activities. Adobe’s Project Breath is all about building and sustaining mindfulness among the employees. 

Our last tenet of happiness at work is kindness. Being kind at work is practicing empathy and compassion, treating colleagues with dignity and respect, practicing gratitude and handling conflicts positively and constructively. Employees are urged to be good listeners and effective team players. Apologies also enhance respect and commitment in building trust and happiness at work. Georgetown University Professor Christine Porath’s book Mastering Civility explains being civil means building trust; sharing resources, feedback, and credit; and being a good listener. For leaders, civility skills are critical to avoiding the corruptive influence of gaining power.

Research shows happiness at work in essential for organizational success and achievement of its KPIs, mission, and vision. Using the tenets of PERK can enable enhanced happiness among employees at the workplace. 

Dr. Kakul Agha
Author: Dr. Kakul Agha
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