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What’s New with Humu—April 2019 Edition

Written by Liz Fosslien

Warmer weather, budding flowers, and egg-shaped chocolates can only mean one thing: Spring is here! In the spirit of new beginnings, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Liz, and I’ve spent the past three years co-authoring and illustrating the Wall Street Journal best-seller No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. I’m excited to be at Humu and to take over these regular updates.

Since joining the team in February, I’ve had a lot of conversations about happiness. Humu’s mission is to make work better, and happiness is at the center of everything. We know it affects health, innovation, productivity, and even how kindly we treat each other. But can we actually make ourselves happier?

The pursuit of happiness is complicated. Ask someone to be perky and you’ll paradoxically make them miserable. Put “happiness” on your to-do list and you might suddenly find there’s never enough time in the day, which will only deepen your discontent. And if something does make you feel good? Bad news. The more of it you get, the less it’ll make you happy.

So where does that leave us? While 24/7 happiness isn’t possible, here are five tiny tweaks to increase the positive emotions you experience, help you feel more passionate about your job, and feel a sense of belonging at work. Consider it a nudge, from me to you.

Grab coffee with a colleague

We know taking breaks can boost both your mood and your performance. But before you open Instagram or dive into your personal inbox, consider this: the breaks that best keep spirits high are those in which you learn something new or build relationships.

Plan a vacation

In their book Happy Money, professors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton write that money can buy happiness… if you spend it on shared experiences. And go crazy with planning: anticipating a trip can be just as valuable as the vacation itself.

Say thank you

A simple way to increase your well-being is to write—and personally deliver—a gratitude letter to someone you’ve never thanked for their kindness. This simple act provides the biggest and longest boost to happiness, with benefits lasting over a month.

Get enough sleep

This one might feel obvious, but are you getting your eight hours? Sleep plays a major role in how much we enjoy what we’re doing, and a lack of sleep makes us anxious; if we’ve been up too long, we start to perceive friendly-looking faces as menacing.

Create delightful rituals

At Humu, we strive to make happiness a habit.

People Scientist Molly Sands saves everyone’s coffee orders on her phone so she can easily show gratitude by grabbing someone’s favorite treat.

Before he goes home, Engineer Jose Rodriguez-Salinas writes down everything he accomplished that day. This helps him see his progress and lets him go home without worries.

Chief Privacy Officer Lea Kissner and her kids keep their in-progress book in a special place at home. No one is allowed to read it unless the whole family is together. Anticipating a shared experience!

What small things do you do to boost your mood? Let us know by replying to this email.

What’s happening at Humu:

We moved into our new office and it is uh-mazing, from the Mother’s Room to the many comfy nooks for heads down work. Instead of a traditional tour, we asked the Humu team to share their favorite things about our new digs. See it all here.

We’ve been busy, especially our People Scientists. Stefanie Tignor recently spoke at the Wharton People Analytics Conference about the power of small changes and Rachel Callan and Tom Skiba talked about how data science can make work better at SIOP. Coming up, Lea Kissner will cover privacy and threat models at Rice University and Twitter HQ.

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