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International Day of Happiness 2021 - How we learned to stop worrying and enjoy the small things

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The International Day of Happiness has been around since 2012. It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, as a way of promoting the well-being of everyone around the world. So of course Lightyear celebrates it.

Our mission is to bring clean mobility to everyone, everywhere, so we do our part for the climate crisis. But we know that we need to do our part in the happiness and peace of mind for ourselves, as well.

For this special day, we wanted to show a more in-depth analysis of how we keep everybody in the Lightyear family happy, and how we take care of our own well-being.

Happiness in all of Lightyear’s departments

At the centre of our happiness journey is our very own Noortje Verwiel, Employee Happiness. No, really: that is her official title. Along with her Happiness Intern, Lady (no, really: that’s her name), they are guiding over 140 employees, all from different countries and backgrounds.

It’s not a hard job to keep our employees happy. Everyone joined Lightyear to work on our mission to provide clean and affordable mobility for everyone. The intrinsic motivation and dedication in reaching that are really high.

Of course, the higher the responsibility, the higher the reward, but for these trying Corona times, having a quick grasp of how everybody is feeling, from a distance, is nothing short of a miracle.

I am a strong believer that aligning personal and company values create the foundation for a happy work life. But happiness is the result of a lot of different things, from a good conversation over a cup of coffee, to a complex formula of values like autonomy, leadership, responsibility, and having a fair system of rewards.

This just goes to show you that happiness isn’t an exact answer or an exact moment in time. If it would be that easy, we would all be happy, all the time. But we do pride ourselves that we do our best so people wake up in high spirits, knowing that another day of Lightyear starts.

But we can’t only take Noortje’s view on life: after all, it is her job to be happy. So we wanted to expand our search and see what other employees think happiness is all about.

Employee Happiness at Lightyear

An IT Administrator, a Group Lead, and a VPO walk into a bar

We asked Stevie, Antonie, and Peter about their experience within Lightyear, and what happiness means to them, especially in a pandemic landscape. And, to our surprise, the answers were eerily similar.

First, was the importance of happiness within a working environment:

A: “Crucial!

S: “From a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 10.

P: “In my opinion, the importance of happiness at work cannot be overestimated.

For those who were here for a longer time, the same ultimate happy memory was the reveal of Lightyear One, in 2019.

A: “Just being a few weeks at Lightyear, when Lightyear One was revealed in June 2019. I felt the happiness, energy, but also emotion of one moment from our colleagues who had achieved this result. I had goosebumps, although I just joined the company.

Again, an amazing similarity was the reason they are happy at work, even from a distance: the mission of the company.

A: “The people and the culture.

S: “The freedom, the mission, the people.

P: “What energizes me on a daily basis is the conviction that, at Lightyear, we can truly make a dent in the universe.

Noortje, responsible for employee satisfaction at Lightyear

So what does this all mean?

We can read all day about what makes certain people happy, but how can we put it into practice, either as employees or employers?

Well, the 3 golden rules of work happiness:

  1. Always go for a job where you believe in the mission. There are a lot of posts that can be very highly paid, but if your motivation comes only from extrinsic values, you should take a step back and reconsider some decisions.

  2. Be friends with your colleagues. Of course, nobody is making you become united for life, or to be nice to people you genuinely do not like, but you will have to work with them. Either find a middle ground or just take a step back and be nice to each other, out of politeness, and you will see how much better work life can get.

  3. Never forget about your personal life. Loving your job is amazing, but remember: you work to live, you don’t live to work. Happy memories can be made within the office, or with colleagues, but outside of those 40 hours a week, you still have a life, full of people who love you.

The person who put it best was Peter:

For me, happiness comes from moments that I try to create myself and co-create with others, such as exploring life with my three young boys, going on trips with my family, experiencing moments that matter with friends, but also contributing to a bigger cause in life, such as helping to deliver "clean mobility for everyone, everywhere”.

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About Lightyear

We design for independence and convenience. We create clean solar electric cars that can drive off-grid and into all of life's adventures.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848620