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Workplace Happiness: arbejdsglaede

  • Employee Experience

Justin Timmer is our In-House researcher. Contact him via

What is arbejdsglæde?

Arbejdsglæde is not just some random letters we’ve thrown together! Arbejdsglæde is a Danish word that means happiness at work. Arbejde means work and glæde means joy or happiness. It is simply feeling good about the work you do, liking what you do, and feeling happy to go to work. This word for workplace happiness only exists in Scandinavia.

Why is happiness at work so important?

Workplace happiness or arbejdsglæde is essential to our lives as we spend the majority of our time working. According to the Huffington Post, on average, our jobs take up to 13 years of our life, which is more time than we spend with friends, family, and on hobbies in a lifetime! Therefore, if we spend all of this time working, we should be at least doing something that makes us happy. Also, happiness in the workplace contributes to a person’s happiness in life. A meaningful job which you like is one of three things that contribute to happiness in life, in addition to an affectionate romantic relationship and valuable friendships.

What can we learn from the Scandinavians?

The Scandinavians are happy at work for three main reasons; work-life balance, freedom, and trust and equality within the workplace. The work-life balance in Scandinavia is a major factor in their workplace happiness. According to CNN Money, the Norwegians and Danes share the first position for the shortest work-week in the world, 33 hours per week. This allows for more time to be spent with family, friends, and on leisure activities, which contribute to employee happiness and wellbeing. The Scandinavian countries also allow employees more flexibility within the workplace, when considering working hours and place of work. Lastly, the Scandinavians have a high level of trust and equality within the workplace. Decisions and suggestions made by employees in all positions allow participation from all sides.

So what really makes us happy at work?

According to Alexander Kjerulf, a workplace happiness expert, there are two factors leading to happiness within the workplace: results and relationships. Results describe when you are good at your job, and what you do; making you feel good about yourself and your position. Relationships are about liking your colleagues and enjoying spending time together; having a pleasant connection with your colleagues fosters a connection with each other and creates a more positive working experience.

Why should we focus our attention on arbejdsglæde?

Happy people are more likely to be successful because they have been proven to work more efficiently and to be more motivated. Happy people have been proven to be up to 20% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. Additionally, happy employees have been proven to be more creative. A recent study looked at the correlation between emotion and creativity; it seemed that the positive emotions deactivated the part of the brain which is responsible for decision-making in risky times, this allowed for a deeper state of creativity within the brain. Finally, positive emotions such as happiness also increase resilience in employees, therefore making them more likely to take risks and more equipped to recover from failure.

Why should you adopt a strategy to improve your arbejdsglæde? It not only benefits your employees, but it also benefits your organisation. Improve your workplace today and create a strong strategy to make your employees happy and healthy!

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