Thriving at Work: Unveiling the Blueprint for Happiness and Productivity
Today, the 20th of March 2024, marks the 11th annual World Happiness Day, a day on which we celebrate the betterment of human life and experience and recognize “happiness as a north star for individuals, communities, governments, and society” across the world (Happiness Day, 2024). This World Happiness Day, we delve into the importance of well-being in the workplace and the need for a healthy work-life balance for individuals, companies, and communities.

Alfa Santoso Budiwidjojo Putra, Evi Dewi Kusumawati, Dewi Kartikasari, in an article for the International Journal of Multidisciplinary Approach Research and Science, provide an insightful three-pronged framework for analyzing the conditions necessary for employee workplace well-being, listing psychosocial and workplace relationships, individual flourishing and growth, and environment and social justice as the primary antecedents of a thriving employee (Budiwidjojo Putra, Kusumawati, & Kartikasari, 2024). They identify three domains of employee prosperity: the individual, the interpersonal, and the communal/societal.

The need for stability and satisfaction in one’s life is a key requirement for happiness. A firm and stable financial situation and a healthy and consistent lifestyle “characterized by regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and sufficient rest” is conducive to better “physical health, mental resilience, and an overall sense of vitality” (Budiwidjojo Putra et al., 2024, p. 314). The interpersonal dimension is inextricably bound with the individual, not only because of the positive impact of interpersonal relationships, social support, and job satisfaction on workplace well-being and the impact of effective communication and teamwork in creating a supportive environment, enhancing engagement, and fostering job satisfaction, but also because achieving a healthy work-life balance is the foundation for achieving individual job satisfaction and a healthy relationship to one’s professional commitments (Budiwidjojo Putra et al., 2024, p. 314).

Though people often associate work-life balance with the number of hours one works and commutes compared to hours of leisure, there is a bit more to it than that. One definition describes it as “satisfaction and perceptions of success in meeting work and non-work role demands, low levels of conflict among roles, and opportunity for inter-role enrichment” not just in “prioritizing work and personal life roles of employees but also [including] how it affects employees’ psychological, economic, and mental wellbeing” (Tamunomievi & Oyibo, 2020, p. 1). Due to the competitive nature of many job environments and the pressure of providing financial stability (often for families), it is often hard for employees to prosper. In Nigeria, for example, employees struggling to find a balance between work and non-work commitments experience “increased level of stress, rising rate of drug abuse, decreased productivity, increased rate of turnover and absenteeism, [and] decreased level of job satisfaction,” all of which are detrimental to both their private life and ability to function in the job environment (Tamunomievi & Oyibo, 2020, p. 2). There are many ways to help ameliorate these problems and create a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The introduction of considerate and expansive leave programs and allowing for flexible work hours (without using this to force employees into constantly working) are most obvious, but many forms of “informal support” also exist, meaning “the support given by family members, colleagues, and supervisors to decrease the load and or stress of work-life interface and which is not part of written rules and regulations” (Tamunomievi & Oyibo, 2020, p. 3). Additionally, employers might lessen employees’ family burdens by providing child and elderly care facilities. All of these lead to employees who experience “greater job satisfaction, [are] less stressed, and are less disposed to turnovers” (Tamunomievi & Oyibo, 2020, p. 4).

The third prong of workplace well-being as described by Budiwidjojo Putra et al. is environment and social justice. Living in a society “where individuals have equal opportunities, are treated with dignity, and have their rights protected” (Budiwidjojo Putra et al., 2024, p. 315). Individuals having access to affordable healthcare and can live, commute, and work in a safe environment is a precondition for happiness, and allows for a “sense of belonging and [for] social cohesion [to flourish]” (Budiwidjojo Putra et al., 2024, p. 315). The need for these factors extends to the workplace where equality (in race, gender, sexuality, and all other protected characteristics) must be upheld and safety, not just from violence and discrimination but from burn-out, abusive management, and financial ruin as well; must be guaranteed for all.

The achievement of workplace well-being creates a productive, nurturing, and healthy environment for employers and employees alike, and the implementation of specific well-being-oriented policies can create immediate benefits for a company. For example, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (2010) in an internal report arguing for the implementation of flexible working arrangements and work-life support within the United Nations system found it had several key benefits including bettering employee productivity, employee attraction and longevity, “enhancing employee engagement, morale and satisfaction,” and improving employee health (both physical and mental). The proliferation of new work and communication technologies can assist in making these diverse working relations possible.

Not all can be solved within the workplace, however. Tamunomievi and Oyibo (2020, p. 7) find that in the Nigerian context:

“several studies have shown that there are systemic barriers that hinder the implementation of work-life balance policies, such as leadership failure which has birthed political, economic, and social challenges that are the primary sources of work-life conflict, they include corruption, weak institutions that lack the capacity to monitor and enforce employment standards, high unemployment ratios, poverty, inflation, and a plethora of others.”

In celebration of World Happiness Day, let us affirm our commitment to bettering the working conditions of all and ensuring personal and societal well-being to achieve greater happiness for all.

Otje van der Mark | Content Creator



  • Budiwidjojo Putra, A. S., Kusumawati, E. D., & Kartikasari, D. (2024). Unpacking the Roots of Workplace Well-Being: A Literature Review. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Approach Research and Science, 2(1), 312-321.
  • Happiness Day. (2024). Our Mission. Retrieved March 7, 2024, from
  • Tamunomievi, M. D., & Oyibo, C. (2020). Work-Life Balance and Employee Performance: A Literature Review. European Journal of Business and Management Research, 5(2), 1-10.
  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. (2010). Policy, Practice and Potential: Work-Life Integration in the United States System.

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