30 Steps to Joy at Work: Get More Done by Being Less Busy

In: BlogDate: Jul 08, 2019By: Henry Stewart

Could we get more done if we were less hectic and overwhelmed?

Bruce Daisley, former EMEA Vice President of Twitter, will be speaking about the Joy of Work at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference on 22nd July. His new book, The Joy of Work, promises "30 ways to fix your work culture and fall in love with your job again".

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Having email on our phones and tablets has, he reckons, increased our working day from 7.5 hours to 9.5 hours. But rather than improving our productivity, it has created more stress.

And stress leads to being less productive.

He gives the example of Charles Dickens, who wrote 15 books, 200 short stories and edited a weekly publication - and didn't work in the afternoons. Instead he went for walks, of ten to twelve miles. "Nowadays we'd put him on performance review, to get his hours up", commented Bruce.

Above all, sitting at your desk rarely leads to creativity or innovation. Bruce describes how Aaron Sorkin (writer of the West Wing and The Social Network) discovered he got his best ideas in the shower. So he had a shower installed in the office and now takes 8 to 10 showers a day!

Daisley’s book offers lots of good ideas to help us feel less overwhelmed:

Halve your meeting time:
Do them in less time or have less of them. Research indicates that meetings are responsible for just 3% of productivity.

Get people talking to each other:
“Ideas flow” results from talking to people, not from emails. That research finds one-to-ones are responsible for 38% of productivity: Chat more, meet less.

Suggest a tea break:
Initially try breaks two or three times a week and see what happens

Have a Monk Mode Morning:
At least two mornings a week, have no meetings and no emails until 11am. Instead get some “deep work” done. (I do this, normally sitting in a café, and it works.)

Go for a walking meeting:
Even if its only 7.5 minutes, it gets you out and stimulates your creativity.

Turn off notifications on your phone:
Avoid the interruptions and get more done, or give yourself a break. One group of researchers could not get participants to turn off notifications for a week, so they settled on just one day. Two years later, half the group still have notifications off.

Go to lunch:
Go and sit in a park, go for a walk, book an exercise class.

Find time for laughter in your meetings and offices.

Be a good boss:
First, ‘do no harm’. Empathise, understand, spend a week in their shoes.

For the other 21 ideas, all backed up by research, you will have to get the book, The Joy of Work. A recommended read.

Bruce started on this journey when staff turnover at Twitter UK reached 40%. He knew something needed to change. And the new approach certainly seems to work: Staff turnover is now down to 3%.

Hear more from Bruce at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference

Can your company become more productive and created more joy for its people? Join us at the 2021 Happy Workplaces Conference on 22nd July, held online via Zoom.

Other speakers at the conference include leadership gurus Tom Peters and David Marquet, as well as Nand Kishore Chaudhary of Jaipur Rugs, Helen Sanderson MBE of Wellbeing Teams and Sarah Pugh, CEO of Whizz-Kidz.

Find out more and book your place


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Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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Next Conference: 2023 Happy Workplaces Conference

Our Happy Workplaces Conference is our biggest event of the year — and we're excited to announce that it will be back for 2023. Save the date for 15th June 2023!

Due to the success of previous years, we will be holding this event online via Zoom. As always, this event will include lots of discussion and interaction, with the opportunity to meet others who are on their journey to create happy workplaces.

Our speakers will be announced early next year. Previous speakers have included leadership gurus Tom Peters, David Marquet, Liz Wiseman and Bruce Daisley — as well as Andrew Barnes, author of The 4 Day Week, Helen Sanderson MBE, Professor Donna Hall CBE, and Pim de Morre of Corporate Rebels. We've had speakers from organisations such as John Lewis, WL Gore, Buurtzorg, Woohoo inc, Propellernet, Mayden, Next Jump, Foundation SP, Epic CiC, the National Audit Office, and more.

Use discount code EarlyHW23 at checkout to receive your Early Bird discount for 50% off.

Find out more and book your place