Building a Stairway to Happiness

Cabaana provides a full-fledged ‘Who is Who’ feature to help you get to know your team

By Victor Ruiz

Stairway to Happiness

After years of committed hard work, one day the boss calls your name. The last time he did so was when you signed your employment agreement. He wants you to go to his office. Maybe this could be your time. As you leave your little shabby desk behind, you realize that something is going on out there. Your beloved peers are clapping and cheering, standing up as you walk through their desks on your way to face your destiny. The boss is waiting outside his office with the door opened and a smile from ear to ear, inviting you to enter. Once you are inside the room, he gives you a warm hug and shows you the papers you have been waiting for so long:

“Congratulations!!”

Finally, here it is – your desired promotion.

Suddenly, the alarm rings. Forget about your sweet promotion. It’s seven o’clock in the morning. On any ordinary day, you would add five more minutes of sleep, asking yourself if that early morning is worthwhile, but this time you jump out of bed. For the first time in a long time, you have an exciting day in front of you. After years and years of unbearable work in a soulless company, in which the employees have been unhappy and complete strangers to one another, and several months in desperate search of a better place to work and be, it seems that finally you have found the light at the end of the tunnel.

The boss was nice during the interview. He praised your experience and skills and told you that he would facilitate an easy adaptation and provide everything for you to reach your full potential. That man definitely trusts you. The conditions are great too – The company headquarters is not far from home, but enough to escape the pollution of the city. The building is new, with clear and bright spaces. From the glass window of your office, you can see the green hills and the cascades that surround the structure. And if this isn’t enough, you will earn three times more than in your former job. For less hours.

Welcome to the stairway to happiness. Could it be more perfect?

The importance of getting to know your colleagues

The moment you shake hands with the boss after signing your brand new employee agreement, you cannot be any happier.
Are you sure? Wait a moment. Who are all these people smiling at you?
I almost forgot. Teammates, Colleagues, Co-workers…

The final step of this stairway to happiness.

The earthly paradise that we have described could be shattered into pieces without a happy and a healthy working environment. In fact, the only thing that can turn that heaven into hell is a bad or non-existent relationship with your colleagues. Make no mistake about that. On the other hand, a strong bond with your teammates will allow you to get over difficult and stressful situations, as well as undesirable working conditions.

Try to imagine. What if all your days at work were like the first day? The feeling of loneliness, the “maybe I don’t belong here” thought and that insecurity that affects your daily tasks. Without a shadow of a doubt, whether you are new at the company or not, getting to know your colleagues and working on bonding as a team is arguably one of the most important things to do at work.

Who on your team has a birthday this month?
Who on your team is a creative thinker?
Who is more analytical?
Do they enjoy contributing using these skills?
Can you name one hobby or favorite activity of each of your team members?
Do you know what is most important to your team members in their job?

The above questions (1) are essential to the development and growth of your team and knowing the answers mean that you are in the right direction.

Toc toc. It’s Cabaana!

However, getting to know your teammates requires effort, and sometimes the working routine makes it difficult to invest the time it deserves to share a coffee with your colleagues.

Don’t worry! Cabaana has a full-fledged ‘Who is Who’ feature that helps you getting to know your team.

Firstly, we provide a Team Directory. The ‘Who is Who’ of your team, where you can find details of your team members/colleagues. In addition to a list view, the directory provides an individual profile view with many useful data, including some interesting common factors you and that team member share. You can easily access the Directory from wherever you are in the application.

Inside the ‘Who is Who’ service, you will find a list of users/employees who are registered on the platform. To discover the full profile of the different users, simply click on their names.

Once you do this, you will be able to get to some key information such as:
Full name; Job title; Department in which the employee is working; Address; Skills (those technical abilities of the employee, for example: JavaScript, marketing, sales, Android development…); Interests (hobbies or personal interests of the employee, like reading, running, hiking…); Contact information (here you will find contact data such as telephone numbers, email, and links to the employee’s social network profiles); KPIs indicating the number of following and followers, and the number of huts (2) in which the employee takes part, and Activity feed, which you’ll find at the bottom of the same profile, showing all the activity of the user on the platform.

Individual users can edit their own information through the Edition panel located in their profile page.

Alongside the directory, one of the most important features of the platform in terms of encouraging the interaction between employees are “Challenges”. Our ‘Happiness Challenges’ in Cabaana are a great way to trigger effective, yet light-hearted interactions within your team. We’ll talk more about these in one of the upcoming posts.

As you can see, Cabaana aims to encourage interaction between colleagues & team members, so that they get to know each other in an active way. We are sure this will help build and strengthen bonds in your team.
How better to Happifying your workplace?.

But this is just the beginning. Want to know more about Cabaana?
(To be continued…)

(1) ‘Why Leaders Should get to Know Team Members’
(2) What is a hut? Please, be patient and wait for the next posts in this series.

Why Cabaana? – Part 2

By Ganpy

The Journey

Image Courtesy: Smashing Ideas
Image Courtesy: Smashing Ideas

Even if you don’t agree, as far as we were concerned, ‘not trying’ was never an option. A complex problem that can’t be easily quantified meant we had an opportunity to try to create a solution, which even if it doesn’t comprehensively solve the problem as a whole, we were sure, it would have the potential to reach many.
Thus began our journey!

(Here is the first part of this series..)

So, interaction is the key to a healthy workplace. And healthy interaction promotes happiness, which in turn has a direct impact on employee engagement, thereby increasing productivity.

This is the premise.

We wanted to develop a platform which addresses the core of workplace happiness, i.e, interaction, therein addressing a big & an important facet of employee engagement – the holistic issue in front of us.
As we started putting together the initial straw man version of the solution we were going to build, we started listing the main components that the solution was going to have on our design board. Interestingly, as we continued to make the design more and more robust till we kicked off the actual development process & continued to the point till we decided to freeze our scope for version 1.o, we realized our original main components still remained our main components. And that is saying something about our own core belief on what this product should be.

So, what did we think our solution should have as its main components?

1) A social network — a place where there is social communication & a place where interaction takes place in a public sort of way, a place that encourages team members to get to know each other better.
2) A Collaboration portal — a place that provides an easy & an organized way to do information exchange, a place that gives a sense of control to the persons initiating/leading/managing collaboration with an option to decide who they specifically want to be collaborating in that space.
3) Private communication — Messaging feature which is secure, one on one, etc.
4) Appreciation — a fun way to appreciate team members/colleagues that also promotes a sense of healthy competition amongst them, because in the end, if the employees are competitive to get more appreciation from their colleagues, then the net result is going to be better work output and increased productivity.
5) Interaction Intelligence — a feature/tool within our solution that builds intelligence over a period of time to encourage interaction between colleagues/team members both within the tool (online) and in person (offline).

Once we had the design scope finalized (the first version), we couldn’t hold our excitement, as we were very sure we were on our way to build a new & a unique solution, one that potentially could change the way workplaces start looking at employee engagement.

We started expanding the functionality of the main components and started breaking them down into smaller features. As with any new product development, the energy we have within the development team can be termed as something that fluctuates between “high” and “very high” on any given day.

These features were then translated into user experience discussions, navigation aspects, technical dependencies, etc. After the feasibility of each feature was well analyzed, we started finalizing our functional and technical specifications with timeline estimates.

    Fast Forward to March 2016.

      Our solution, Cabaana is now about 3 months away from its official launch. And we are in the final stages of our development & unit testing. A beta version will be made available for all the early adopters & others who wanted to be part of this journey by signing up before December 2015. And needless to say, we are super excited.

      Any attempt to describe the sense of creative satisfaction one gets as one sees an idea transform into a real product through multiple phases, is futile because that sense is truly beyond words. And that’s exactly what we are going to through right now.

      So, what exactly is Cabaana?

      In short, “Cabaana” is a cloud based platform which has been designed for teams of any size to increase employee engagement by keeping the focus on overall Happiness.

      Communication, Collaboration, Interaction and Appreciation are the key components of Cabaana, but the gamified look & feel and the overall fun design makes it a unique solution for a diverse workforce.

      It is an “avant-garde” cross platform application, which can easily be accessed from the web through desktop computers, or tablets and through smartphones running iOS or Android.

      Cabaana is a subscription based service and the monthly cost depends on the the team size.

      In the coming weeks & months, we will continue to provide updates on the product launch and will share with you more descriptive details on the individual features.

      As Caba would like to say, Stay Happy!!

    Why Cabaana? – Part 1

    By Ganpy

    The Beginning

    Happiness

    About 75% of one’s job success is predicted by optimism level, social support system at work and his/her ability to see stress as a challenge as opposed to a threat. It is only the remaining 25% that is predicted by the individual’s IQ. And since most of us follow a scientifically broken formula of defining happiness in relation to success, we seem to be in a constant chase of happiness. Instead of saying we would be happy if we are successful, we should perhaps focus on the present and see how we can be happy right now. The happiness advantage, as scientifically proven seems to have a direct impact on our brains by increasing creativity, intelligence, energy level and by positively impacting how we respond to stress, thus increasing our overall productivity.

    According to the longest study ever conducted on Human Happiness, a study which is still ongoing and one in which after 75 years, they have enough data to draw some conclusions, Human Happiness is really all about healthy relationships. This may seem bewildering to most, as we have always associated other quantitative factors with happiness. Such as wealth and health, in that order. Robert Waldinger, Director of Harvard Adult Study, says that it is not just the quality of relationships that matters but also the closeness of these relationships for increased happiness.

    We have been doing our own qualitative study on workplace happiness for the past few years. Granted, we don’t have a scientific approach to our study, as we have been relying largely on our group of researchers observing and collecting data in a disorganized way, mostly in terms of direct anecdotes and paraphrased ones. We have been collating this data in a way we could use for our interest. When we launched our first mobile solution, employee engagement was a topic that fascinated us quite a bit and that was the beginning of this journey of ours to understand what causes employee disengagement at workplace other than the obvious.

    A fews years later since we launched that informal study, here we are. At the cusp of launching our brand new solution in the next few months. Our passion and urge to create Cabaana came directly from the findings of our disorganized study. The study may have been disorganized but our findings are very conclusive and we feel vindicated by the Harvard study.

    Well, our conclusion is this. Other than the obvious reasons such as compensation and benefits that motivate an employee to give his/her best at their workplaces and to stay engaged, surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), we also found out that there are critical soft factors that are equally and in many cases, more important for an employee to stay engaged or to stay motivated to give his/her best.

    They are:
    1) workplace environment (culture, office space, team dynamics, etc.)
    2) appreciation by coworkers — peers & leaders
    3) most importantly healthy interaction with coworkers

    It’s safe to conclude that (2) and (3) are essentially the same as Harvard Study’s findings, when applied in the context of a workplace environment.

    So, interaction is the key to a healthy workplace. And healthy interaction promotes happiness, which in turn has a direct impact on employee engagement, thereby increasing productivity. Simple. Right?

    Huh. How we wish the approximately 70% of the currently disengaged global workforce can be made to engage fully, applying the above formula! Now, if only someone can give us the formula for creating healthy interactions at workplace…..

    No. We realize it is not that simple. But, a complex solution doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Do you agree?

    (To be continued)