Recently, I have been talking a lot about putting more focus on developing our strengths, rather than spinning our wheels trying to fix weaknesses. Indeed, there is evidence that focusing more on strengths increases both, happiness levels AND productivity.
One of the key concepts in Positive Psychology is character strengths. When Positive Psychology as a discipline first emerged, the purpose was to study human well-being and what is right with us. Very soon, there was a need for a common language and a way to measure the good in people. Professors Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson together with their team were pioneers in researching character strengths and many other scholars have followed in their footsteps, providing us with a strengths-based approach to living a good and meaningful life.
Can you recall your last performance review at work? If you do, did your supervisor focus on how you could work on your areas of improvement or did they try to find new ways use your strengths for the organization's goals?
Today, I want to write about a challenge that I encountered a couple of months ago. And in the current situation, I am sure I am not the only one who has been, or still is, struggling with this. I am talking about the difficulty of motivating yourself when working from home.
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.