HAPPINESS IN THE WORKPLACE
It goes without saying that happiness is an important consideration within the workplace with emotional state and job satisfaction being inexorably linked to job performance. As such, companies strive to keep their employees happy and attempt to foster a sense of satisfaction, community, and belonging. But how is this accomplished and what role do interpersonal relationships play in creating this atmosphere? We set out to investigate these relationships and learn how to facilitate happier, healthier interactions within the office and decipher what role both communication and technology might play in this context.
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WHAT IS HAPPINESS AND HOW CAN WE MEASURE IT?
In order to understand our problem space, we began by investigating happiness through multiple lenses including social, psychological, and scientific and we identified three insights:
INVESTIGATING THE WORKPLACE
Moving forward, we knew that we would need to tailor our research to focus on understanding the nature of social interactions throughout the office with an emphasis on privacy. We interviewed ten individuals from a variety of work backgrounds. Eight participants held employee roles while the other two acted as supervisors.
CIRCLE OF TRUST
In addition to interviewing our participants, we utilized a Circle of Trust exercise to better understand workplace relationships. In this exercise our participants placed different members of their workplace on a spectrum of trust from highest (closer to them on the spectrum) to lowest (farther from them on the spectrum).
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
In order to process all of the information we had collected, we chose to pursue affinity diagramming. We began by coding our data by recording quotes and other brief statements onto individual sticky notes. Then we grouped specific and repeated observations and organized coded data around observed themes. Linking multiple themes lead us to six insights into our problem space.
CORE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
We used our insights to generate three core design principles which would direct the ideation phase of our project. Any idea that did not comply with any principle would need to be reworked or abandoned.
AREAS OF IDEATION
Each of us storyboarded possible solutions and presented differing modes of interaction with and around our happiness sensor. During ideation we found that all of our ideas could be categorized by one of three distinct models of interaction: