Happiness at Work with Denmark’s Chief Happiness Officer
On Wednesday, March 27, we were thrilled to host Denmark’s “Chief Happiness Officer” Alexander Kjerulf. Almost 150 people turned out for the presentation on “Happiness at Work,” a phenomenon for which the Danes have coined a word. Alexander Kjerulf has introduced hundreds of thousands of people to the Danish word “abejdsglaede” through his popular blog, his book, Happy Hour is 9 to 5: How to Love Your Job, Love Your Life and Kick Butt at Work, and his popular TED talk. With research drawing on numerous real life examples of companies that have achieved success through happiness, Alex makes the case that happy people are more successful than unhappy people and that happy businesses are more efficient than unhappy ones. He presents workshops on “happiness at work” at businesses and conferences all over the world. His clients include companies like Hilton, Microsoft, LEGO, IKEA, Shell, HP and IBM.
The presentation took place as part of our “European Voices” series, which is funded by a grant to the Center for the Study of Europe from the European Commission Delegation in Washington DC. The “European Voices” series is premised on the notion, beautifully articulated by Rebecca Solnit, that ideas originate not in bureaucratic chambers, but in the “street” where they are picked up and re-presented by artists, writers, activists, and intellectuals (and sometimes business leaders) in a manner that sparks public discourse and seeds future politics. th event was moderated by Tim Sullivan, editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press. Tim’s book, The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, coauthored with Ray Fisman, was published in January.
In a lively and interactive presentation, Alex described some of the cultural differences between workplaces in Europe (Denmark) and the United States. Despite the differences, he claimed that ANYONE can be happy at work. He attributed workplace happiness to two factors: RESULTS and RELATIONSHIPS. We could summarize the presentation, but we don’t want to discourage anyone from listening!