happiness-1Gabriele Romagnoli, a journalist for the Italian newspaper “Repubblica”, has recently published a fascinating book about learning to fix ones priorities in life by keeping what is truly essential. Solo Bagaglio a Mano

seeks to understand how can we be less cumbersome – and “ burdened” by unnecessary things and thoughts. Romagnoli had the chance to reflect on this while he was virtually dead, locked in a coffin in South Korea, in a ritual-experiment offered by Korea Life Consulting. Korea Life simulates people’s funerals in order to dissuade people from commiting suicide, which is a chronic problem in South Korea.

Before being locked in the coffin, wearing just a nightgown with no pockets (because, as they say in Naples, “the last suit has no pockets”), the journalist was shown some data, cited in the book, about how 100 individuals aged 80 spent their life: 23 years sleeping, 20 working, 6 eating, 5 drinking and smoking, 5 waiting for a date, 4 thinking, 228 days washing their faces and brushing their teeth, 26 playing with kids, 18 tying the knot.

And 46 hours of happiness.

On average, we are only happy 46 hours in our entire life.

Nonetheless, happiness also makes us more productive at work. Many US companies, as the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports, are now creating a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), an executive in charge of keeping employees happy.

Their purpose is to bring joy and satisfaction to employees, through motivating them and making them happy to go to office in the morning.

According to Alexander Kjerulf, corporate consultant and co-founder of WooHoo inc. – Happiness at work, we work better (and with better results) if we stimulate and cultivate our talents with happiness. When we make the work environment a happier place, productivity increases. Even the capacity – individual or collective – to deal with new challenges increases.

To make the workplace a happier space, thus making employees happier too, it is enough to unlearn what is very common in traditional corporate culture, that Curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity, the desire to explore new horizons, and leave our mark on an innovation, whether big or small, is the real engine for growth. Setting employees free to unleash and experiment their ideas, encouraging them to make the most of their capabilities and imagination in their tasks – instead of separating work and personal interests – and leaving them the necessary room to share the results of their experiments will help in improving performances and will make the office a much happier place.

Are we ready, then, to welcome CHOs in Italian companies, and to increase the number of happy hours in our lives?