Bringing happiness to work

The following is written by someone who recently ran The Happiness Lab in his workplace, but who wishes to remain anonymous.

I’m not an evangelist, though I’ve always held and felt the conviction that we’re all called to be active in reaching out. In the workplace that’s normally looked like just being willing to enter into conversations with colleagues as they come up, though I’ve thought many times about doing something more proactive like running Alpha. 

I work in a large organisation that’s fully embraced a modern sense of morality regarding inclusivity and diversity and running Alpha out of the blue hadn’t seemed the right next step to make. Then I came across The Happiness Lab – I can’t quite remember how, but I immediately felt that this would be something people would readily engage with as happiness and wellbeing has been ‘in’ for a few years.

Even so, it still took me 18 months of putting aside umpteen perfectly legitimate excuses for not doing it before I actually did something! That something was to write a little post to put out on the internal social media saying something about the course and asking if anyone was interested in doing it. I can’t say I wasn’t wary of the reaction I was going to get though I was hoping for at least enough interested people to make the course worth doing. My limit was ten delegates as that’s how many books I had (though I honestly didn’t expect I’d get that many). I put the post out mid-afternoon, and waited. 

I didn’t have to wait too long. Within an hour I had two people signed up, and before going home there was more. At least I knew I was running the course now (what was I worried about I wondered!). It didn’t stop there though, by lunch time the next day I had ten people signed up. Then within another two days I had a waiting list long enough to fill another course! It was amazing.

So a few weeks later I ran the course with the help of another colleague whose part of the same church as myself. I led the course and my colleague attended as a delegate which worked really well. The course naturally leads to deeper, spiritual questions but when you’re facilitating in a work place context it’s not really appropriate to use it as a platform to preach! As a delegate though my colleague was free to bring a perspective just like anyone else on the course. There were naturally a number of opportunities and chats I had with attendees outside of the sessions which I simply would not have had otherwise. 

Now I’m on my second running of the course and again I’ve been fully booked up. I don’t know where it’s going to lead in the lives of the people attending but through this course I believe God has enabled me to make connections, build relationships, have conversations – it’s a superb tool. So many people have reacted positively to the course and the possibilities for running it in other contexts (GP Surgeries, Local Café’s, if you’re part of some other social group, toddler / parent groups etc) are endless.

So my encouragement would be to be brave, stop giving yourself an excuse, step out and run The Happiness Lab. So often when we step out we find God already there ahead of us and we wonder what took us so long. Do it! 

Here’s some tips when you do -

  • Sign more people up than you think you can manage as not all will attend each week

  • Watch the video before the session as this really helps with preparation

  • It’s worth having a couple of quick exercises to hand relevant to each week’s topic

  • Be prepared to draw people out with open questions to stimulate conversation

UCD Ed: Sharing our faith in a work situation can bring challenges and the author wants to remain anonymous for now. The Happiness Lab is the perfect way to stimulate deeper thoughts, questions and relationships that makes it that little bit easier, longer term, to share your faith. Find out more.