Happiness in the Workforce

Similar to workplace buzzwords like “innovation” and “transformation”, workplace “happiness” seems to be thrown into the mix. However, it’s often in organisations there is significantly less focus on addressing workplace happiness.

Why is this?

Often it comes down to organisations not acknowledging the positive effects of employee happiness to overall business success.

So to help improve workplace happiness we suggest doing an activity we call “Angels & Mortals”


Angels & Mortals is an activity similar to Secret Santa. Everyone participating will receive the name of a ‘Mortal’ for whom you are to be an ‘Angel’ for.

Your job as an Angel is to surprise your Mortal with random acts of kindness all day, but make sure you don’t tell! Keep your identity a secret!

What you do for your mortal is completely up to you. You might make them a coffee, decorate their desk. You might organise for something nice to happen. You might do one, or many things. The options are endless, and don’t need to cost any money – only your thoughts and time!

This activity is following the theory of Altruism


What is Altruism?

Altruism is doing good for others for no personal gain and is something that people have studied for years. However, recent research shows that it can help with a range of things that are really important to the workplace.

The Smile Theory

When you do something good for someone else, normally that will make them smile. When you see someone smile it activates the same part of the brain that we experience our own emotions in. So when you make someone smile it naturally increases your own positive emotions and overall mood.

Connection and Trust

Doing good for others with no expectation of return makes for better connections, especially if your workplace is very siloed and there isn’t a lot of collaboration between people and departments.

Therefore opening up connections within the workplace and building on those connections will help with overall morale but also in the long term it will begin to build trust which also breeds loyalty.

It can all start with a simple conversation.

Boomerang Effect

As humans, we are biologically programmed to want the species to survive and the brain has developed in certain ways and makes us feel certain emotions when we do something that helps to the survival and betterment of our species.

So it comes as no surprise when we see someone help someone else it evokes an emotion in us and that becomes infectious. Simply seeing someone help an elderly person cross the street or someone pick up rubbish that isn’t theirs and put it in the bin can have a ripple effect that makes someone want to do good for others (if anyone remembers the music video One Day – The Life Vest Inside).

However, if you personally do good for others with no expectation of return you will find that people will naturally want to help you out in any way they can. Humans feel compelled to give back when they feel as though they have been given more than what they have put in.

DISCLAIMER: Not everyone acts this way but the more people you help the more likely someone is to help or do something nice for you.


International Happiness Day and the Angels & Mortals activity is great for employee engagement for your organisation to build trust and improve happiness within the workplace. However, these as ongoing activities will build up workplace happiness and improve the culture to make a high function and loyal team.

If you haven’t received your free flyer from us explaining the details of the activity and would like to be sent one please send an email to connect@workhappy.com.au

For more on building trust in the workplace, watch this Simon Sinek video about building trust.