Today, Arise Design launched a website for Angel Charity. This, in itself, is not big news. The big news was how good it felt. We could tell something about this particular project was special, because we were quick to announce it on social media, and our team had a spirited “high five” when the site went live! Also, it seemed like just yesterday when we were beginning our discovery phase of the project. The time spent creating this terrific website flew by!

Whenever something really great happens at Arise, we try to understand it and of course, repeat often! So, we asked ourselves, “What was it about this project that brought happiness to the Arise team and our client? Why was this a project that brought happiness at work?” Our answer came in the form of comparing our experience with a rather nifty pie chart! Here’s what we discovered…

The 5 Core Elements of Happiness at Work

Martin Seligman, often referred to as “The Father of Positive Psychology,” created a model of psychological happiness with 5 core elements (see the pie chart!). Seligman believes that these five elements enable you to experience a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning. These very same elements, when part of your work life, bring you happiness. Here’s how:

  1. Positive Emotion

Experiencing positive emotions points to your ability to be optimistic and view the past, present, and future in a positive perspective. This viewpoint inspires you to be more creative and take more chances because your focus is on what is working and what might be possible. Instead of fighting against what is, a positive emotion accepts what is and seeks to find its usefulness. A quick example would be replacing, “Oh no, that picky client is making another round of unnecessary changes!” to “Our client is hoping to improve the site with some edits. Let’s explore.”

During our Angel Charity project, this was noticeable when we were working on photography selection. We wanted to communicate the struggles children of Pima County were experiencing, but also were aware of the potential positive outcomes the Angel Charity organization would have. Our image selection broadcasted hope and community, along with love and care. Also, as a team, we worked collaboratively and encouraged mutual participation and positive encouragement. And, boy, did that feel good.

  1. Engagement

It is important in our lives to be able to find activities that take our full engagement.  Engagement in the activities in our lives is important for us to learn, grow and nurture our personal happiness. We all need something in our lives that entirely absorbs us into the present moment, creating a ‘flow’ of blissful immersion into the task or activity. This type of ‘flow’ is important to stretch our intelligence, skills, and emotional capabilities.

When we were first creating a site map for Angel Charity, we experienced a deep connection with the mission of the organization. In those first days, imagining the possibilities and reviewing other charity sites felt exciting and immersive. Our team was fully engaged in the ideation portion of the build, and feeling that wonderful “flow.” There was little resistance to the project tasks, and as a team, we dove in rather happily!

  1. Relationships

Relationships and social connections are one of the most important aspects of life. Humans are social animals that need connection and interaction with other humans. Building positive relationships with your working team and clients can feel deeply satisfying.

We were very fortunate to have a terrific point person within the Angel leadership team. She had a clear vision of what the website needed to do, and she kept an open perspective when it came time to review designs and exchange information. Through many rounds of edits, the team worked together, forming a deeper, more meaningful working relationship characterized by mutual respect and consideration. This took effort and consideration from all team members. In person meetings and phone calls were an important part of our relationship building. So were regular updates and quick email responses. Time invested in relationships is time well spent.

  1. Meaning  

Having a purpose and meaning to the project work you do is an important part of living a life of happiness and fulfillment. When we refer to meaning, we are talking about being engaged in something that is beyond serving only yourself. It is primarily for the good of another.

Creating a website for a charity gave our firm meaning because we enabled others to solicit volunteers and donations on a global scale. In doing so, they are able to fulfill their mission and help many others. In the case of Angel Charity, we were able to create an easy-to-use online donation experience and a special event-ticketing interface that promises to increase their revenue and ability to help children. That feels both meaningful and important to the Arise Team. We all can agree that helping children in need is a worthwhile endeavor.

  1. Accomplishments

Having goals and ambition in life can help you to experience a sense of accomplishment. Making realistic goals, and putting in the effort to achieve them, leads to satisfaction, pride and fulfillment. It also means you are probably growing as a valuable contributor to your team.

Anyone who has ever created a website knows that it is not a small undertaking. That in itself is an accomplishment our team experiences daily. With the Angel Charity project, we also got to learn new skills relating to a new ticketing web plug-in and a deeper understanding of nonprofit rules and regulations. We also learned behind-the-scenes information about how agencies help children in need. This project stretched our skills as designers and developers, in that the project was fully remote and the client team dispersed. To achieve a cohesive end product that functioned smoothly and attracted donations gave us all a sense of accomplishment!

Are you ready to experience happiness at work?

Try incorporating these attributes into your day-to-day work experience. Being aware of this “happiness” model is the first step to applying this theory to your work. Keep referring back to the 5 core elements of the model. Ask yourself if there are ways you can incorporate aspects of the model to increase the team’s work experience!

“What is the worth of anything, but for the happiness ‘twill bring?” Richard Owen Cambridge

For More on Happiness at Work, visit:

Martin Seligman on TED: The new era of positive psychology
The PERMA Model: A Scientific Theory of Happiness
Workplace Happiness
15 Keys to Workplace Happiness

Let’s experience happiness together. Join us for a project (or three)!

All it takes is a conversation to get things started.

Contact Arise. Let the good times roll.