How to Create a Culture of Happiness At Work

By Erika Stutzman     |     June 23, 2017

We know how important happiness is, and spend ample amounts of time and treasure in its pursuit. But if you’re relegating happiness to weekends and vacations, you’re missing an enormous opportunity — not to mention wasting a pretty sizable chunk of your life.

A new book encourages us to approach our workplaces with love, to practice mindfulness and use inspired tools to build a culture of happiness within — not outside — the 9-to-5.

“Happier at Work: The Power of Love to Transform the Workplace” was written by author Gayle Van Gils and the research shows it’s needed: 75 percent of U.S. workers say they feel overwhelmed at work. Imagine a paradigm where we could say: Most of us say we feel happy at work. 

Gayle is a senior meditation teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and is the founder of the consulting, training and coaching company Transform Your Culture.

g-009-fmedGayle’s book features Boulder-based Room 214, a digital and social media marketing agency. The author explores the Room 214 culture, and describes how a few years ago, Co-founder James Clark discovered he wasn’t looking forward to coming back to work after a family vacation. He talked with Co-founder Jason Cormier, who said he was experiencing the same thing. This was their company, their passion. What was up?

The solution, Gayle writes, was a path to creating the Room 214 mantra “Creating Valuable Relationships” and our three core values: Doing Our Best, Acting Out of Love Instead of Fear and Leading with Humility.

We spoke with Gayle upon the launch of her book this week to learn more about her inspiration, and why it’s important to create a happy culture at work.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: So many people that I have taught and coached to use the tools of meditation and compassion in their personal lives find greater ease. Except ….they still suffer greatly in their jobs. In fact, after a weekend mindfulness-based training, where we explore how to find joy and ease in everyday life, the most frequent phrase I have heard is: “Oh no….now my heart is open and how do I close back down for Monday morning!”  

In fact, the answer is to not close back down. That is the way to be engaged, productive and to motivate others. Yet we need to face and overcome certain fears in order to do that. This book shares how to do that. 

I have been working in businesses as an executive coach, trainer and consultant, and I have seen the benefit that these practices bring in the workplace. I wanted to reach a greater number of people, those whom I might not have the opportunity to meet in person.

Q: And how did you come across companies like Room 214 to include in your book?

A: James and I share a common passion for creating a great company culture. We met over 15 years ago at a workshop exploring how to apply the principle of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” to the workplace. We become close friends, and have stayed in touch ever since.  I have always been impressed with the culture that James and Jason have cultivated in Room 214.

Q: Were there any major hurdles or surprises you encountered in researching and writing this book?

A: The biggest hurdle was personal — believing that I could actually bring this project to completion. It is a pretty huge deal to get a book all the way to publication, and I feel really good to have jumped those hurdles.

The surprises were how all it usually takes is asking for help or information in order to get it. Everyone was incredibly open and helpful in sharing their stories as I researched for this book. It has been a wonderfully affirming experience.

Additional Resources:

How to be Awesome at Your Job

Mindfulness at Work with Gayle Van Gils


About Erika Stutzman

Erika Stutzman was an award-winning reporter and editor for 20 years at newspapers in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, D.C. and Boulder, Colorado. Erika enjoys helping Room 214’s team and its clients tell their own unique stories in compelling ways. If she's not writing, she's probably skiing, camping, trail running or at the farmers' market.

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