How to Be Happy at Work


“Arbejdsglæde”, pronounced in English as Ah – bites – gleh – the, is a Danish word that means work joy. Listen to Susan from Tuscon, Arizona pronounce arbejdsglæde.

Happiness at work is a concept that is ingrained in the Scandinavian culture. When I think about the Danes and someone happy at work, I’m reminded of comedian and pianist Victor Borge. He’s gone now, but his legacy lives on. Check out this Youtube video of Victor at work and tell me he isn’t happy. (Don’t let the antics fool you, Victor was an accomplished pianist who also had a gift for humour.)

In North America, our closest expression to “Arbejdsglæde” is “work satisfication”. Not exactly the same feeling as joy, is it? Satisfaction, or lack of, is a theme of legendary rock stars. Remember the Rolling Stones’ classic “I  Can’t Get No Satisfaction”?

But there is hope for us. We can experience that sense of glee Scandinavians have going to work every day. Chief Happiness Officer, Alexander Kjerulf, has identified six actions to feel happiness at work. I’ve converted these actions into the following formula:

Happiness at Work = Be positive + Learn + Be open + Participate + Find meaning + Love

To find out more about these happiness actions, read Alexander’s book, Happy Hour is 9 to 5. It’s free online. Free makes me happy… even when I’m not at work.