Warning: Your Workplace Can Improve By Adding Joy. Yes, I said Joy


Creating a sustainable and successful workplace is a challenge that every start-up must deal with. Knowing what traits you want your workplace to have is a good place to start. Richard Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations and author of Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love, says, "Our definition of joy means we must be able to scale and still produce quality products and maintain our culture."

Joy isn't the first word that comes to mind when contemplating business success but Rich has built a workplace that won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace flexibility with joy as its foundation. Take these tips from him and help your workplace become more energetic and passionate using the Joy, Inc. blueprint.

1. Imagine joy. Set out to intentionally build the company and workplace that you want to work for. If you don't try to build a joyful company, you'll never achieve one by accident.

2. Build community. Good attitudes spread. A contagious joyful attitude can spread from your employees, to your clients, and to the community. A rising tide of joy floats all boats.

3. Foster communication. An open work environment creates natural opportunities for conversation and growth. "A culture that embraces and honors its people with a changeable space encourages serendipity."

4. Use storytelling. Engage your clients and visitors with stories of your company and your team. "If you can get the world to start telling your company's stories, you will reinforce your mission every single minute of every day, even when you're not in the room."

5. Tear down towers of knowledge. One person shouldn't be so integral to your organization that they can't go on vacation or has to be on-call all the time. While these could seem like job security, ultimately, it's too much pressure on one person and the infrastructure.

6. Design for living. "Whatever you do for a living, design plays a role." Design helps tell your companies story and should help create the joyful user experience for your brand.

7. Kill fear. "Fear is one of the biggest killers of joy," so it holds your team back from making bold decisions unless the bold decisions mirror what management wants. Which, come to think of it, often means they're not really bold.

8. Make mistakes faster. "Small, fast mistakes are preferable to big, slow, deadly mistakes." Create a culture where people can fail and succeed to survive and thrive. A small, fast mistake means you're learning. A big, slow mistake means you're dumb.

9. Rely on discipline. There's no replacing hard work and accountability for your work. Discipline creates results. Joy and discipline are not polar opposites nor are joy and anarchy the same thing.

10. Catalyze teamwork. At Menlo Innovation, they work in a pairing system. Each week they switch pairs and maximize the skills of each employee as they rotate through different pairings. This pairing and re-pairing strengthens the whole team.

How can you look at your work culture and build some joy into it? Every corporate culture has room for improvement and maybe bringing some joy into your Inc. is just what you need.


How to thrive and create joy at work: Is it about flexible working, table tennis in the office, sleep pods or being transparent about salaries? How should businesses and entrepreneurs ensure the wellbeing and happiness of the people they work with?

How do you thrive and create joy at work? We'll be exploring this fascinating topic in a Google Hangout moderated by Guy Kawasaki with legendary entrepreneur Arianna Huffington and workplace pioneer Richard Sheridan and we've love to hear what you think. Instagram or tweet your ideas using the hashtag #workthrivejoy.