There must be hundreds of reasons why co-operatives make you happy. And in celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, here are just seven reasons why co-operatives should be making you happy today . . .
1. You’re the boss — if you don’t like the layout of your office or the structure of your working day, vote for change.
2. Co-operators are “in it together”. Academic research shows co-operatives would rather cut wages than make people redundant. And as workers shy away from corporate entities, the growth of co-operatives is gaining strength.
3. Job satisfaction is improved through collective decision-making, such as electing your management or creating favourable pay conditions.
4. Collective management. Alternatively, your co-operative can flatten its structure, which can be along the lines of Suma wholefoods co-operative — where everyone is truly the boss.
5. Independence. Your co-operative isn’t accountable to any shareholders, so any profits can be reinvested in training for staff, growing the business and even rewarding yourself with a well-deserved bonus. John Lewis recently gave its worker-owners a massive 17% bonus.
6. Co-operative behaviour is enshrined in the human genome. According to psychologist and author Oliver James, there is strong evidence that co-operation is good for us emotionally, where by contrast, excessive competitiveness causes stress and mental illness.
7. And ethics. Co-operatives are underpinned by seven basic principles of co-operation. These social economy goals give a ‘purpose’ that is much stronger than conventional corporate ethics.