Happy life requires emotions and experiences of all sorts

Dr Ilona Suojanen, happyologist and researcher at CESAM, was interviewed by Kauppalehti (Finnish equivalent to Economist) as the person of the week. In the article she highlights the importance of happiness in the workplace and calls for more resources for companies to find out what makes their employees happy.

- There is no point for board members to meet and try to think what could make company’s employees happy when they could just ask them, Suojanen says.

When asked if Generation Y, said to request happiness at work, will be disappointed when the work life does not meet their expectations, Suojanen points out that many of the heads of companies and some of the parliament members (in Finland) are already members of Generation Y, and hence creating new workplace practices and cultures as they go.

Suojanen also reminds that this generation is used to uncertainty. If there are no jobs in their field they will study another degree on another field. If there are no jobs in their home country, they will move abroad. And if they are not happy at work, they will find a company where they can be happy.

When discussing sustainability, the focus is often on the planet and nature. Suojanen calls for more focus on sustainability on working lives too. In the future, when computers and robots are doing all the basic tasks, social skills and creativity are what make humans special.

- There is no creativity if employees are burnt out, she says.

The article also focuses on the happiness rankings of countries. Suojanen admits that those rankings do tell us about the wellbeing of countries, but nothing about subjective happiness of the citizens. Although certain aspects are found to have positive effect on happiness, there is no clear causal evidence of those factors actually causing happiness. She is also concerned about happiness research being too heavily Western biased. (Read more in the CESAM blog about Ilona’s thoughts on happiness rankings.)

In the article, although providing evidence on how happiness benefits all, she discourages expectations to be happy at all times:

- Happy life is a combination of all sorts of emotions and experiences, Suojanen says.



The Centre of Excellence in Public Safety Management (CESAM) aims to promote and foster the professional development and management of public safety organisations, on an international level. It targets a clear and direct impact of academic research on public and private sector organisations in the field of public safety. More information about CESAM’s work can also be found in the CESAM blog.