September 25th – 29th is International Happiness at Work Week

Just in time for ‘Happiness at Work’ week – Sarah Harrison shares her experience of returning to work at New Dawn Resources.

I returned to New Dawn a year ago and I genuinely mean it when I say it is a happy place to work. One of the reasons for that is that the team talks, listens and evaluates what we do for our clients and for ourselves regularly. As a result of one of these meetings the team has decided to trial a 4-day working week. 

During our time away the team will be learning carpentry, painting (art not walls!) and will take the time to travel more and spend time with friends and family. We are a close-knit team, and we have taken this decision to ensure that we can continue to have the passion and dedication to New Dawn, and our clients for the foreseeable future.

We realise that not every business will be able to reduce to 4 days a week, but happiness at work is not just about not working, it is also about personal development, acknowledgement and reward for a job well done. The organisations that we work with already know the value of happy employees and recognise the advantages it brings:

  • Recruitment
  • Retention of talent
  • Productivity
  • Creativity

The results of the impact on people working a four-day week are becoming clearer as reported by the BBC at the end of last year.

Four-day week trial ends and some firms make it permanent – BBC News

For our team it was about looking at our working patterns and asking whether it could work for us and have a positive impact.  The average UK employee will spend roughly 3,515 days working in their lifetime. (Office for National Statistics)

Average actual weekly hours of work for full-time workers (seasonally adjusted) – Office for National Statistics (

10 years of your life may not sound much, but if you split that into working days, weeks and years it represents 43 years of your life, and for some of us that will be more. 40 – 50 years is a long time to maintain happiness and fulfillment, so why don’t we treat our relationship with our work like any other relationship? I guess what it comes down to in anyone’s working life is how do you maintain that happiness over the years?

I realise that those who have a job that they love can seem unbearably smug to those who see their job as a means to live. Either way I believe it’s what you do with the time away that improves your relationship with work. If work is your vehicle to be able to do what you want or need then there can be a level of acceptance.

For me I love to travel, read and enjoy the freedom that not being at work delivers. This does not mean that I turn into a cavewoman and rampage around my local area, but it does mean I have more time for myself and enjoy my friends and family more. When I return to work I do so without begrudging my time in the office and appreciate the skills and opportunities that my role provides.

A recent survey by REED found that 78% of people find returning to work stressful, and 52% say they consider changing jobs immediately after a holiday.

The survey also shows that it takes only 11 working hours for an individual’s stress to return to pre-holiday levels. Well, I’ve been back for 2 weeks, and I still feel refreshed and raring to go. Part of that is that I work with a great team who appreciate each other. The other is that 4 days a week is already making a difference to how we feel about our work.

‘Happiness at work week’ is a good time to honestly assess if your workplace is predominantly happy and if not then how you can change that. We can’t be happy all the time in life or work, but if the underlying trend is not happy then it may be time to look at adjusting the culture and work life balance.
The phrase “Do what you love, love what you do” is bandied around a lot, but I think it sums up the key to being happy at work.

If what you love is work then you probably have a healthy relationship with it as it enables you to do what you truly love and what makes you happy; whether that is painting, woodwork, reading, traveling, cooking or spending time with family and friends.

Being happy at work is infectious and we hope that reflects on every client and will keep the New Dawn team content and happy for a long time to come.

If you would like to explore how you can adjust your working practices as an organisation then please get in touch with our team. In the meantime please visit our site and discover the wellbeing and resilience services that we offer.