According to statistics, the average American spends 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. If you’re an average American, this roughly adds up to a third of your life. When one looks at it from this perspective, the only logical thing to do is to try to find happiness at work. What this looks like and what you have to do to achieve it will differ from person to person. The most effective way to find happiness at work is, of course, to find a job that you’re passionate about. However, not everyone is that lucky.
Many people have jobs that they don’t exactly hate but are also not flying out of bed for in the morning. The good news is, however, that even if you’re in a job that’s perhaps not as stimulating as you’d like, or perhaps not paying as well as you think you deserve, you can still find happiness at work. Here are a few ideas you can try to figure out what happiness at work looks like for you.
Steps for Employees Who Want To Find Happiness at Work
If you’re working for someone else, there are of course limits to the freedom you have to change things at work. Depending on how tolerant your employer is, they may or may not be fine with you doing yoga behind your desk at 10 a.m. in the morning. Luckily, finding happiness at work requires nothing this drastic. Here are a few things you can try:
1. Become Part of the Work Community
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, you’ll be happier at work if you interact and mingle with colleagues. This doesn’t mean that you have to join the “fellas” after work and down shooters until the early morning hours. In fact, it’s advisable to rather refrain from becoming too close to colleagues outside business hours, as this could potentially cause complications in your work relationships.
Being part of the work community entails reaching out to others in the workplace and showing a real interest in whatever is going on in the office. One of the tried and tested ways to enhance your mood if you’re feeling down or negative at work is to do something for a colleague, whether it’s taking them a cup of coffee or offering to take a task off their hands.
Also, being part of the community at work means that you get to laugh with everyone when a joke is shared, and can also vent to a trusted colleague when you’re having a rough day. A little support from colleagues can go a long way in making your days at work more tolerable, and even happy.
Related Article: 7 Tips How to Mingle with Everyone, Even if you’re an Introvert
2. Make a Meaningful Contribution
Although you may feel like slacking off when you’re not that stimulated or happy at work, the truth is that this will only make you unhappier. As Tyler Perry states, “Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do, whether you’re a janitor or taking your first summer job because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.”
The truth is that you may be struggling to find happiness at work because you’re not applying yourself. If you’re an employee who has an ambivalent or lackluster attitude towards work tasks, you may find that a little change in attitude can actually change how you feel about your job. By delivering high-quality and error-free work and taking pride in what you do, even in the most mundane task, chances are that you’ll feel happier in your job. Plus, your excellent work ethic and positive can-do attitude may also lead to new opportunities, such as a promotion or a job offer.
3. Slow Down and Breathe
If you’re somebody who tends to stress and worry, perhaps your road to happiness at work lies in slowing down and taking some pressure off yourself. In the fast-paced world of today, it’s easy to get stuck in the rat race and in overdrive mode. The high-performance culture that permeates most work environments has resulted in buzzwords such as “multitasking” becoming the barometer against which people measure their own performance.
However, research shows that it’s actually hugely counterproductive to try to do ten things at the same time. In fact, the human brain isn’t able to focus on more than one task at a time. What you’re actually doing when you’re “multitasking” is switching from one task to another in fast succession. Although you may think that you’re being super productive, you’re actually taking longer to finish tasks since your brain has to constantly readjust its focus. In addition, you’ll find that your breath is shallower when you’re in this mode and that you’re more prone to stress.
Stress is the antidote to happiness. You want to calm down, learn to breathe properly and tackle one task at a time if you’re trying to find happiness at work. As Viggo Mortensen succinctly puts it, “We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly, and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”
Tips for Employers Who Want To Create a Happier Workspace for Employees
If you’re an employer, you can only benefit from helping your employees find happiness at work. Happy employees tend to be more productive; plus, they’re more fun to be around! If you’re looking for ways in which to boost the morale and happiness of your employees, here are a few tips to remember:
1. Nurture a Culture of Fairness, Honesty, and Transparency
As an employer, it’s up to you to establish the culture in your company. Most people don’t thrive in an environment where there are secrets, backstabbing, erratic behavior, or unfair treatment. If you want to create a happy atmosphere at the office, it starts with your behavior and attitude, as this will set the tone for everyone else.
Firstly, ensure that you’re consistent in your treatment and evaluation of your staff. Put the necessary checks and systems in place and stick to them. Secondly, be honest and transparent in your dealings with employees. Treat them with respect and hone a culture of honest communication. This includes honestly informing employees when you’re not satisfied with their performance or conduct. You can further promote honest, yet polite, communication in the workplace by actively discouraging gossiping or office politics and by not engaging in such behavior yourself.
2. Encourage and Uplift Employees
All living things thrive when they receive positive attention. One of the surest ways to ensure the happiness of your staff is by recognizing their hard work and achievements. Doing so doesn’t always have to involve grand gestures such as financial awards or promotions. Simply sending an employee an email to say you’re noticing their efforts or congratulating an employee on a job well done can greatly improve the morale at work.
Another sure way to boost the happiness of your staff is to take an active interest in their lives and professional development. Ensure your employees that you notice them and that they’re important to you and the company by learning a bit about their lives and aspirations. Asking an employee whether their son has recuperated from an illness or whether their daughter has graduated can provide them with a sense of belonging. Also, actively support employees in working towards achieving their professional goals, whether this means giving them paid study leave or organizing training.
3. Lighten the Mood
Although you want your employees to be effective and professional at work, it’s also important to lighten the mood in order to maintain a balanced and productive work environment. Keep the humor going by laughing at an employee’s joke or sharing a funny story before kick-starting a Monday-morning meeting. You should aim to act as an example of happiness to your employees by consciously thinking about your facial expressions and your mood at work. Happiness is infectious. If you’re walking around with a smile and giving people compliments, chances are your employees will follow suit.
Also, aim to spoil your employees occasionally. Once again, doing so doesn’t necessarily involve grand gestures such as sending an employee on a paid-for tropical vacation. You can show your appreciation by bringing doughnuts to work or giving the team a Friday afternoon off after a big project has been successfully completed.
These are just a few ways in which you can find happiness at work. Whether you own a business or work for someone, figuring out what happiness at work looks like for you may be easier than you think. Although happiness means something different to everyone, it often lies in the smaller things in life, such as a shift in perspective or an act of kindness.