For several years we have been talking about Happiness at Work and Positive Organization; Daniela Di Ciaccio has written several articles on WOW on this topic, also explaining the role of the Chief Happiness Officer in changing the corporate culture.
A professional figure particularly useful in this post-pandemic phase of reluctance to return to the office.
But concretely, how does a CHO work and how can it make people happier and more productive and the company a stimulating and welcoming place to work together?
We asked it Nathalie Pollina, CHO at Copying. “Even my dad often asks me: But what exactly do you do?” Nathalie replies with her sincere and engaging smile.
The Copying headquarters stands out from a distance in the industrial area of Caronno Pertusella (Varese): an eco-sustainable building with wood covered facades“inspired by a hostel frequented years ago, traveling along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela” explains Mauro Vitiello, second generation entrepreneur who took over from his father Domenico Vitiello, founder together with Elio Pagani – 40 years ago- of Copying, a company for photocopying and paper document management services.
The inevitable transition from paper to digital process management has not only affected new skills and technologies, but has also been the stimulus for a radical change in the corporate culture.
Copying took this opportunity to concretely embark on the path of sustainability from an ESG perspective, to take on new forward-looking visions and to transform the office into a happy place.
A right choice, as evidenced by the exponentially growing turnover and above all the corporate climate that reigns in this positive workplace.
You realize that you are in a special place already by crossing the entrance surrounded by the fish tank for the beautiful Koi carp who enter swimming under the transparent floor of the hall.
First detail of style and metaphor of a Vision: the Koi carp in Japanese culture symbolizes perseverance and fidelity and, thanks to the ability to swim against the current, also resilience and the will for positive change.
The second welcome sign is by the affectionate Bruno dog coming with a lemme step from the upper floor.
Then the humans arrive, equally hospitable: the owner Mauro Vitiello with the Happiness Manager Nathalie Pollina, accompany me in the different areas of the headquarters and in the spaces dedicated to the new divisions.
This is the kind of lively, green, dynamic so-called “Google Style” workplace, full of eye catching graphics and immersive videos, a strong identity environment that leaves room for the passions of the inhabitants.
For example, the numerous plants and the company garden are cared for by the owner and employees.
Everywhere there are traces of life and people: grandmother’s sofas, motorcycles and bicycles, photos taken by employees …
It is an attractive place; it is not surprising that almost all employees are present even if the rules for the pandemic would allow them to work in home working.
Here there is no Great Resignation or reluctance to return to the office.
It seems strange, but even in a so happy place a Chief Happiness Officer is needed. Because organizations are living, complex, modifiable organisms; they therefore need to be constantly powered and monitored.
Aware of this, Mauro Vitiello asked Nathalie – already with a positive attitude- to attend the CHO course to enrich her skills.
Nathalie, what do you actually do in your role as CHO?
Regardless of the individual initiatives, the general is committed to ensuring that each department manager communicates in a fluid and transparent manner with their collaborators and trying to build a culture of feedback, offering learning opportunities on leadership, communication and emotional intelligence.
As a CHO, I am in particular responsible for making the workplace a happier place, where people always feel at ease, appreciated, understood, engaged, motivated.
I set up the Good Vibes Team project, transversal to all departments, to intercept people’s needs and work so that the dynamics between colleagues lead to productive collaboration.
Happiness in Copying is a strategy and a key competence for achieving goals and for sustainable evolution.
Actually, we take care that the office experience becomes, an offer of value, creating opportunities for exchange, play, learning, growth.
We also encourage a healthy and active lifestyle as an instrument of greater psycho-physical wellbeing.
Are there any guidelines to support this commitment to the goal of Happiness?
Consistent with the principles of the Science of Happiness, we activate positive wellness practices in support of some pillars:
1.More positive chemistry and less negative chemistry.
Just as anxiety produce stress hormones which, if produced for a long time, cause a lowering of the immune defenses and therefore makes us feel bad, there are positive hormones that can make us feel good and that improve our cognitive abilities (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphin). These hormones are naturally produced in certain circumstances (being in the sun, in contact with nature, walking or cycling, celebrating small successes, laughing, etc.)
2. More of us and less of me
People who manage to maintain happier, lasting relationships live longer and have better memories. With this in mind, it becomes essential to establish – even in the office – positive and enriching relationships.
Can you give me some examples of the good practices you have implemented, in line with the two basic pillars?
Walk with Copying
provides the opportunity to participate in a walking group on a lunch break, once a week
Ride with Copying
provides the opportunity to use company’s mountain bikes available during the lunch break.
Siamo alla Frutta
Every day fresh fruit is available purchased through a short supply chain ecommerce, which offers only non-intensive organic farming products from small local producers.
Officina del Benessere
Once a month, individual voluntary meetings with a naturopath.
Personalized playlist in the office collecting the songs requested by employees
Weekly class of postural gymnastics or pilates, organized by a local gym
Relax at 100 °
Activation of the Finnish sauna available on request.
Myself Photo Project
Recently some paintings in the corridor and in the kitchen have been replaced by photos: we asked the employees to pose with an object that represents them and talks about them, to make the environment even more familiar and convey, even to visitors, the importance our people have for us.
New 2022 activities
we will start a training course with a coach, transversal to all employees, and two team building activities (one more “conceptual”, the other more “practical”, on a sailing boat).
Of all the CHO activities, which one has given you the greatest satisfaction?
My favorite, still in progress, is Teach Your Talent.
The basic idea is that anyone with a skill, a talent, can teach it (example: photography course, wine tasting course, cooking class) or make it available to others (shiatsu treatments offered by a colleague).
This puts us in the perspective that we can learn from each other and / or we can help each other regardless of hierarchies and roles. It means putting everyone’s skills into a system and creating new synergies and dynamics, which can foster communication, respect and involvement.
Beyond the general feeling, how do you know if these initiatives are truly appreciated by employees? Can the level of happiness be measured?
We practice a quarterly measurement of company wellbeing called I FIL GOOD (FIL is the acronym for Felicità Interna Lorda/Gross Internal Happiness).
Through an anonymous survey, we constantly monitor the effectiveness of our strategies and the level of alignment between the wellbeing of employees and business goals.
A business always driven by the desire for positive changes and capable of swimming against the tide, just like Koi carp.
Text by Renata Sias