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Why we’re happier on Saturday

I was intrigued to see research stating that we are happier on the weekends. This seems intuitive to me. But the research is instructive. We’re happier because we spend our time doing things that we are internally motivated to do, setting our own schedules, and relating with people we feel connected to.

For those of us who are interested in improving organizations, this relates back to my post about ending management as we know it. Research continues to challenge us to create workplaces that support autonomy and control over what, where, when, and how we do our tasks. When people are motivated to work because they want to contribute and increase their mastery of the task, effectiveness and efficiency increase.

Some would argue that their workplace can’t permit autonomy and allow people choice over what, when, how, and with whom they work. I will concede this point. But I will continue to argue that even if a given workplace requires stringent quality controls, opportunity remains.

In those cases (hospitals and air traffic control come to mind), the opportunity for management is to support employees in gaining mastery – to get better and better at what they do. The other opportunity is to clearly and regularly communicate why what employees are doing matters – that the purpose is in service of the larger common good.

As our organizations continue to wrestle with constructive ways of changing management practices toward evidence-based practices, let us all enjoy the weekends ahead!

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