The #1 Most Important Factor In Being Happy At Work — That Too Many Bosses Ignore

Photo: skynesher / Getty Images Signature via Canva —
team at work

Work is where we spend a big chunk of our time, so it makes sense that we would want to feel good when we're there, right? But is that even possible?

Most people would agree that finding a job where you feel happy, comfortable, and appreciated is rare. Some bosses seem to believe it's impossible — or maybe not worth trying for.

However, Google's Aristotle Project made discoveries that prove it's not only possible to give people workplaces they love, but that in doing so, you benefit your bottom line as well.

RELATED: Woman Feels Happier With A Remote Job So She Can Work In Her 'Safe Space' At Home

Yes, feeling good and safe at work appears to be the key to success! 

The secret to being successful at work 

Determined to build the perfect team, Google invested millions of dollars over a decade to see how that happens. Project Aristotle's findings were astronomical (pun intended!).

Google studied thousands of their employees' teams for years and figured out why some faltered while others soared. So, what did they find?

A company that prides itself on finding patterns couldn't find any strong patterns in its research — until the researchers came across the concept "psychological safety". Everything fell into place.

They observed that the teams that soared were comprised of employees who felt they could speak their minds and take risks without fearing rejection or negative consequences.

That's psychological safety: feeling safe to speak up, share ideas, and goof up without fearing a smack on the wrist. Turns out, this feeling is the secret sauce for success at work.

Workplace expert Jenn Lim, a guest on the Open Relationships: Transforming Together podcast, said, "Teams who could celebrate their wins and say 'Oops we [messed] up' were the most effective and also speaks to the kinds of teams we want now. Less hierarchical, more about self-management or autonomy."

What is psychological safety?

Psychological safety means people in a group can freely share ideas, admit mistakes, or express concerns without worrying about criticism or punishment. It's important because it helps create a friendly atmosphere where everyone can communicate openly, trust each other, and work together, leading to more innovation, creativity, and well-being.

7 benefits of prioritizing psychological safety in the workplace.

1. Cooking up new ideas

The study found out that when teams feel safe, they're like little idea factories! They're more likely to try out new stuff, take risks, and be super creative.

It's brainstorming superheroes coming together to make a difference.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Manage Your Emotional Health & Your Career — Without Giving Up On Either

2. Happy workers, less stress

Feeling safe at work also means less stress. Happy employees are the real MVPs.

They stick around longer, enjoy their jobs more, and spread good vibes like confetti.



3. Team bonding and chit-chat

Teams with high psychological safety are all about team chats and group hugs. Well, not literally, but they're great at talking openly and working together.

4. Oops moments are okay

In safe teams, messing up isn't a big deal. It's seen as a chance to learn and do better next time. Like a video game where failing a level just means you get another shot.

5. Leaders as role models

Bosses set the tone, right? When leaders are like, "Hey, I goofed up too, no biggie," it makes everyone feel it's okay to be human.

Leaders are like the cool big siblings of the team.

6. Everyone's welcome

Teams that are a mix of different people are the coolest. Embracing everyone's unique vibes makes the team stronger.

It's a big potluck where everyone brings something awesome to the table.

7. Learn the 'team dance'

Teams can learn the moves to create a vibe of trust and openness. Pieces of training and pep talks help everyone get on the same dance floor, ready to bust some moves together.

As Lim says, "Open up that space, don't penalize those people for speaking up. don't fire them on the spot for sharing things, create a sense of belonging and actually do that."

Whether you're dreaming up the next big thing or just rocking your everyday tasks, knowing your team has got your back is the ultimate power-up.

So why not make work feel like a party? One where everyone's invited, ideas flow, and remember that "oops" moments are just part of the fun.

RELATED: 10 Reasons You're Unhappy At Work, How To Fix Them & How To Know When It's Time To Leave

Deauna Roane is a writer and the Editorial Project Manager for YourTango. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic, and MSN.