Happiness, or more accurately, unhappiness has really been a theme in this week's newspapers. Loads of articles about how people are unhappy / stressed out / whatever, followed by why having the long break means people come back immediately looking for a new job...

I've had lots of different jobs and it wasn't always the ones that paid best that made me happiest. One of the poorest paid ones was as a cook in a motorway restaurant - but I liked it because I had nice people to work with, as well as plenty of time off and it was in the Highlands, so I could spend my free time exploring the beautiful countryside by bike. One of the jobs I was indifferent to was when I was working as an analytical chemist - the people were fine, the job was straightforward, but as I was working 8am-8pm and weekends, there was no time for a life outside of work.

Employers seem to be noticing more that their employee's happiness impacts on the standard of the job they're doing - happier employees produce more quality work. They're more creative, more open to being inspired and inspirational, they're less stressed and they''re more likely to not be looking around for greener grass.

This week we've been receiving calls from organisations and companies looking for a way not just to de-stress their staff, but to show their staff that they (the employer) want to be pro-active in looking after their people. Tai chi is one of the things employers go for, because it not only helps with physical health, but also makes people happier too. This is because people can switch off to whatever project they were working on, then come back mentally refreshed and re-energised to engage more positively again after their tai chi session.

The staff are also enthusiastic because they don't have to go anywhere (difficult in a lunch hour) or wear special clothes - they can just turn up to whatever room in their building and have a go. In a large organisation, it also helps people who work in different departments make connections with each other.

With this month being critical for re-enthusing employees, laying on something like this shows them they are valued by their employers, as well as all the other benefits of tai chi. A feeling of being valued is what inspires employee loyalty and happiness, which is when you get the best out of people. January is the month to address this, to counter all those negative feelings the newspapers are writing about. Instead of starting the year battling against negativity, far better to start with putting things in place to open the year on a really positive note. 

Happy New Year everyone!