• Josh Vaisman

Bringing Happiness Home From Work

Updated: Sep 6, 2018

By the time we retire we will have spent over 90,000 hours of our life at work. Toss in overtime and un-counted “work from home” hours many of us in veterinary medicine know all too well and we’re talking about anywhere from 20-40% of our lives. I’ve yet to perfect the art of safely eating while I sleep so, by my calculations, I’ve only got about 30% of my lifetime to consume all the ice cream in the world. Yikes.

The point here? Work occupies a huge swath of the time we have on Earth. Although we’d love to clock out and leave it all behind, the truth is, work comes home with us. Sometimes in the form of the actual work we need to accomplish (such as medical records or client calls), most often in the form of how our work made us feel. And research supports this notion.

By the time we retire we will have spent over 90,000 hours of our life at work.

One extensive study showed that people who had authoritarian bosses at work were significantly more likely to raise their children in an authoritarian environment. That’s a big deal for two reasons – first, because a sense of loss of control at work can have devastating effects on happiness and physical health due to chronic stress, and, second, because authoritarian parents are far more likely to raise children with behavioral and mental health problems.

We know the psychological impacts of our work environment do not punch out at 5 pm. When the workplace makes us feel bad our performance and productivity declines, our physical health suffers, and we’re worse fathers, mothers, partners, and friends. That’s chronic cortisol at work.

Sounds like this post is all doom and gloom, doesn’t it? Well, it wouldn’t be a Flourish Veterinary Consulting blog post if there wasn’t an upside. Which there IS! And it’s called, oxytocin.

Increasing oxytocin levels in our body actually counteracts chronic stress (chronic cortisol in our body). Research shows increasing a sense of autonomy and control among employees boosts oxytocin in their blood. And with a boost in oxytocin comes a reduction in cortisol. That means less chronic stress, higher performance, and generally nicer people to be around. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to boost oxytocin in everyone I ever meet. That’s why I’m a hugger.

Increasing oxytocin levels in our body actually counteracts chronic stress

When crafting the systems behind your workplace environment think about this – your company culture is either boosting oxytocin or boosting cortisol. Quite literally, our workplaces are either helping people be their best, or their worst, and whichever version they are at work follows them home. What an incredible opportunity to positively impact lives! Empower your team, grow your bottom line, and improve the lives of those who live with people who love where they work. I think that’s a triple-win.

What will you do to help your people bring home happiness?

- written by Josh Vaisman

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