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What Makes People Feel Upbeat at Work (2016) (newyorker.com)
45 points by known 26 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments

The article for not deliver what the headline promises. It explains why an upbeat work environment would be good, what happens if it is not there, and that it cannot be forced into existence by mandating it.

But nothing about how to actually achieve one, or, "what makes people feel upbeat at work".

Reading an article that would go into that topic would have been more interesting.

> "The highest performers of all were those in a moderately regulated environment who also felt a high degree of autonomy, as determined by their responses to a single statement: “My job permits me to decide on my own how to go about doing the work.” "

Yeah, it's all about motivation. Pink divides it further into three components: autonomy (being in charge of yourself), mastery (getting to improve yourself), and purpose (doing something valuable.)

What's nice is that various people have already figured out formulas to motivate workers. It goes by different names depending on who you talk to, but some examples are Deming's 14 points for management, lean, Toyota production system, continuous integration/delivery, DevOps culture. (With some overlap, of course.)

These things create an environment where workers are allowed to be motivated and essentially everything desirable for a company comes out of that state.

There is an immense amount of research into this. This has been worked on for over 100 years; we've known the answers to this question for as long. Yet nobody employs them. Tons of ways to look at the same problem as well.


The person's paycheque is how you satisfy those basic needs. Yet a workplace doesn't necessary become positive.

The next rung up, intimate relationships(well fraternization is generally bad for the workplace) but friends is a big deal. Some businesses have realized this. They hire based on personality similarity. If everyone are friends, you can only grow so large until personality will collide and it becomes a problem. If everyone are friends, it can lead into positivity but it can be tricky.

The answer is the next step up. Feeling of accomplishment.

“The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.”

― John Dewey https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dewey

Everybody likes a compliment.

Abraham Lincoln

A workplace that has compliments will rapidly become a workplace that is positive.

> Worrying about whether or not you’re in violation of a feel-good policy and constantly monitoring yourself for slipups takes a mental toll. More than two decades of research suggests that thought suppression, or trying to stifle your initial impulses in favor of something else, can result in mental strain and may also impair other types of thinking—memory, self-control, problem solving, motivation, perceptiveness. When we are actively monitoring ourselves, our mental energy for other things suffers. The result is not only a less-than-positive work environment but also workers who are less-than-optimally productive. In other words, it’s bad business.

Great article, but I was also struck how much the picture looks like a 2020 COVID office - drawn 4 years ago !!!

If anyone else is having trouble viewing the whole article: https://web.archive.org/web/20160731223823/http://www.newyor...

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