The working population's mental health has recently been in the headlines in Finland. Big national media outlets such as Yle News and Helsingin Sanomat have reported on increased burnouts among the Finns and the most recent statistics by Kela (the Finnish Social Insurance Institution) show that mental health issues have become the most common reason for sick leaves.
Happiness at work is trendy right now. It is trendy to post images from an office with bean bag chairs and a pool table. It is trendy to share the pictures from a company holiday party or a lunch with the team. It is trendy to tell everyone on LinkedIn how much you care about your employees, their happiness, growth, and work-life balance.
Since we spend most of our waking hours at work, how we feel during that time really has an impact on our overall well-being. Our professional and personal lives are not separate from each other and we cannot switch our mood like a light switch. If we are miserable for 8+ hours every day, chances are we feel drained and down in our free time, as well.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This quote is so widely cited all over the internet that you have probably seen it more than once and you already know who said it. That's right, it was Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Group.
This morning, I attended a Hacking Happiness session organized by the OpenIDEO Barcelona Chapter. OpenIDEO is IDEO's platform for open innovation. Their goal is to solve complex challenges in society by using design thinking as a tool. Design thinking allows practically anyone to find innovative solutions to problems in a human-centered, yet feasible and viable, way (IDEO).
We have all heard this question in a job interview, either when interviewing for a job as the candidate or we have asked it as the interviewer. Indeed, "what's your biggest weakness?" or sometimes, "what are THREE of your biggest weaknesses?" is still one of the most commonly asked questions in job interviews. It is so common that many recruiters and hiring managers just keep asking it in the interviews without ever stopping to think of its purpose.