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Move over, Disneyland

POLITICO

It turns out Alpine County is the happiest place on earth. Well, at least the happiest place in California.

That’s according to data presented in former Speaker Anthony Rendon’s Select Committee on Happiness and Public Policy Outcomes on Wednesday. The data, explained by Oxford Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and derived from the World Happiness Report, found the sparsely-populated county along the state’s Nevada border boasted the highest levels of happiness of any county in the state.

Creating a Psychosocial Safety Climate

Prof Maureen Dollard (University of South Australia) shared findings on building a Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) within workplaces at the latest of the Wellbeing Research Centre’s Seminar Series.

Her work examines the value of a PSC to employees and employers alike, and she discusses how the concept is being implemented within regional and national policies to improve wellbeing at work.

Watch the full presentation on the Centre’s YouTube channel.

Individual-level wellbeing strategies aren’t working

HR Magazine

The headline finding is that individual-level mental health interventions don’t work. Across several indicators of work wellbeing and mental health, participants appeared no better off than their colleagues who didn’t participate. There wasn’t improvement in evaluations of the job either.

Discord over use of happiness metrics to steer policy

Financial Times

“The internal and external validity of subjective or self-reported wellbeing measures has been studied for over three decades and found to be pretty convincing,” says Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, professor of economics and behavioural science at Oxford university’s Saïd Business School, and an editor of the report.

Link between wellbeing and productivity is made ‘clear’

Financial Times

The good news, says William Fleming, research fellow at Oxford university’s Wellbeing Research Centre, is that there is a “clear link between subjective wellbeing and productivity”.

He points to two recent studies that show happier workers make more sales, and wellbeing at work can boost financial performance. They support the business case for tending to staff happiness, he argues. “This is without considering absence rates because of mental health and costs of employee turnover.”

Companies reap bigger dividends from happier staff

Financial Times

For academics Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and George Ward at the University of Oxford, and Micah Kaats at Harvard University, it is no surprise, then, that the company’s share price has performed so strongly: their recent study provides the clearest link yet between staff wellbeing and financial performance in quoted US companies. “We find that higher levels of wellbeing generally predict higher firm valuations, higher return on assets, higher gross profits, and better stock market performance,” they write in a 42-page paper.

Employers re-examine wellbeing strategies

Financial Times

Positive effects observed in pilot schemes often evaporate when a programme is released into “real-world settings”, cautions William Fleming, research fellow at the University of Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre. In a study of survey responses from 46,000 UK workers, he found no difference in the self-reported mental health of those who participated in wellbeing programmes and those who did not.

Teacher Well-Being Depends on Workload, School Climate and Feeling Supported

EdSurge

Researchers from the University of Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre developed a framework that divides teacher well-being into three main factors: job satisfaction, individual elements like physical health, and school-level drivers like work-life balance and class size.

Select Committee on Happiness and Public Policy Outcomes

This Select Committee hearing will focus on happiness and possible public policy solutions across different age groups: youth and young adults, midlife, and seniors.

Panelists, including academics, scientists, and policy experts, will focus on issues such as social media’s impact on happiness among young people, barriers to happiness in middle age, and recommendations to boost senior happiness and end loneliness, a public health crisis that experts say is growing nationwide.

Panelists for the hearing include:

  • Jan Emmanuel De Neve – Editor, World Happiness Report, and Professor of Economics and Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at University of Oxford
  • Angelo Williams – Chief Deputy Director, First 5 California
  • Martha Dominguez Brinkley – Deputy Director of Program Innovation and Evaluation, First 5 California
  • Amanda Guyer – Associate Director, UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain
  • David Blanchflower – Professor of Economics, Dartmouth University
  • Susan Charles – Professor of Psychological Science, University of California, Irvine
  • Susan DeMarois – Director, California Department of Aging
  • Carol Larson – Senior Research Scholar, Stanford Center on Longevity

This hearing will be livestreamed via the California State Assembly website.

A generation adrift: Why young people are less happy and what we can do about it

World Economic Forum

In the “seven ages of man” depicted in As You Like It, Shakespeare painted later life stages as melancholic, but the latest World Happiness Report unveils a concerning reality: young people worldwide now report lower happiness levels than their elders. Since 2006, levels of reported youth happiness have declined in North America, South America, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.