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05 Aug 2021

Happiness Officer : back to the office and well-being

After a long period of teleworking, the return to the office marks a turning point in terms of employee commitment and HR issues: search for meaning, loss of autonomy, apprehension about meeting up with certain colleagues, drop in motivation, anxieties about health and safety. How can you re-mobilise your teams, engage them, ensure their well-being, and make them want to come back to the office? What if the function of Happiness Officer became a QWL lever to boost morale in the office? Véronique Huchet, Happiness Officer at Multiburo Nantes Congrès, shares her experience.

happiness officer

The return to the office is already well underway, but it is also an opportunity to get back on track. According to a study carried out by CSA at the end of May 2021, 81% of French people think that returning to the office will be a positive experience, provided that two conditions are met: having the possibility of teleworking and benefiting from a more autonomous management with attention paid to the well-being of employees. “Before the crisis, my missions consisted of ensuring the entry of teams, accompanying them, federating, and organising events between companies, communicating on activities… We felt a real dynamic on a daily basis, and this had an influence on the quality of life at work,” confides Véronique Huchet, Happiness Officer for the Multiburo Nantes office and coworking spaces. However, habits have changed. Presence punctuated by teleworking, new employee expectations… we must be adaptable and inventive!

What exactly is a Happiness Officer?

The Happiness Officer is in a way the person responsible for happiness in the company. He or she is the guarantor of the Employee Experience and the relay of the company culture. He or she listens, audits, supports change, and works in particular to ensure the well-being of employees, the federation of teams and the quality of workspaces. Their objective is to develop a positive and benevolent state of mind within the company. In this context, he can organise events, workshops, lunches, or any other kind of unifying activity. But his role goes much further. His or her missions, fully anchored in a quality of life at work (QWL) strategy, are very diversified. A good listener and proactive, he is the VOICE of the employees and intervenes as much on organisational actions and projects as on relational and operational ones.

At Multiburo, the function of Happiness Officer takes on a special dimension. Indeed, these smile-makers work for the well-being of many employees from different companies. How do you bring them together, enable them to live together well, to develop or to collaborate between external entities? In addition to entertainment and well-being, they offer an exceptional service in the workplace to encourage exchanges between professionals and business between companies. According to Véronique Huchet, this role is twofold: “You have to be a force of proposal to federate the teams and animate moments of sharing, but you also have to act as a mediator and find solutions, to encourage cohabitation,” explains Véronique Huchet. What matters is that everyone feels good.

New mission: the design of spaces

Although the functions of the Happiness Officer are initially little recognised, they are perfectly suited to this singular period. Indeed, with new habits having taken root during the repeated lockdowns, the balance between well-being at work and personal life is paramount. For many companies, this period of calm was therefore conducive to reflection on the new needs of the teams. The design of spaces, particularly in terms of ergonomics and technology, and the possibility of meeting as a team to create and collaborate in complete safety are among the priorities. At Multiburo, “we have decompartmentalised the offices, created better lighting arrangements, provided a break room, showers, etc., all based on the expectations of each individual, in order to combine pleasure and professional life”, points out the Nantes-based Happiness Officer.

The challenge of a hybrid organisation

As flexible organisation takes shape within companies, the Happiness Officer has to juggle with new considerations: temporality, when teleworking punctuates the weeks in the office, and space, where the layout becomes the priority for companies that turn to the flex office. “With a hybrid work organisation, it is more complicated to plan events because we don’t always know when the teams will come to the office,” acknowledges Véronique Huchet. Adaptation is therefore essential. The key to achieving this? Communication. Through social networks, posters, an internal mailbox… this is the first point of contact for the teams whose schedules are now split between being in the office and teleworking. “Communication about our actions is as important as the action itself,” emphasises Véronique Huchet. “And to maximise attendance at these events, we give priority to organising them on mid-weekdays such as Tuesdays or Thursdays.”

Vector of renewal and revitalisation

It is undeniable that it is still difficult to look ahead to the coming months. However, according to an Opinion Way study of April 2021 on happiness at work, 78% of HR managers and directors questioned are optimistic about the morale of their company’s employees. Indeed, the teams seem to be expressing the desire to put people back at the heart of their activities. At Multiburo Nantes Congrès, Véronique Huchet makes the same observation through her various exchanges with Multiburo clients: “By offering events to all the companies that work with us, we also create links between companies. Especially after this crisis, people want to share moments other than through a screen! And companies need to boost their activity, so exchange and collaboration with complementary structures are more than welcome.”

The start of the new school year in September is synonymous with new projects: “With newcomers, it will be the right time to bounce back. We’ll take advantage of this to launch new ideas, to get the momentum going again with innovative activities. We want to get involved and we need to get out, so it might be a good time to bring people out into the open more”. So many projects that will get the teams going again!

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