The real value of happiness at work

The real value of happiness at work

by Sangeeth Varghese

Srikumar S. Rao, who teaches at Columbia Business School, London Business School, the Kellogg School of Management and elsewhere, has done pioneering research into workplace motivation, and he advises senior executives on becoming more engaged in their work and discovering deep meaning in it. His celebrated MBA course, “Creativity and Personal Mastery,” which he long taught at Columbia, has become the only business school course with its own alumni association. In it he counseled students on how to discover their unique purpose, creativity and route to happiness through group work and a philosophical perspective. His latest book, published this year, is Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful–No Matter What.

I sat down with him to find out what it’s all about.

Forbes: Why is happiness at work important?

Srikumar S. Rao: I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you, then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste.

This is important in all of life but particularly at work, because we spend so much of our waking moments at work, and the amount of time we spend there is increasing. Also, many report that they experience undue stress at work, as competition increases and globalization shrinks the world. This takes a tremendous toll on individuals, and there is also a societal cost, because unhappy disgruntled employees are more prone to health problems, less productive and a general drag on others.

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