There have been countless studies and research projects conducted to try to discover the secret to happy employees. In recent years, it has become huge business, as companies recognise the significant benefits that come from achieving a positive workplace with happy employees. Apparently almost every business metric that can be measured (e.g. productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, safety etc.) can be directly impacted by how happy the employees are. So, it’s in an organisation’s best interests to make sure its employees are happy.
Despite this, many people we speak to are unhappy at work. No matter what the study, happy employees tend to be those that enjoy what they do and feel valued and recognised by their employer as doing a good job. It’s a well known fact that well managed organisations who trust and support their employees to do their jobs are the ones with the happiest employees. However, there are many organisations out there that just aren’t achieving that balance. There are several factors that you have control over. Here are some tips to help you achieve more happiness at work:
1. Avoid negativity – choose to be happy rather than down. Instead of dwelling on negative aspects of your work or things you can’t change, focus on what you like. Avoid negative people, find colleagues you like spending time with and don’t get involved in negative conversations or gossip. Greet and smile at everyone you encounter and you’ll be surprised at how many of your smiles are returned.
2. Do something you like every day – you want to be happy in your work so that means avoiding what you don’t like doing will help to a point, BUT you need to be doing more of what you love! Identify aspects of your job you love, and skills and interests that inspire you. Think about how you can be even better at what you do. Approach your superior with suggestions on how you might be able to incorporate more of these aspects into your day to day work.
3. Be Organised – arrive a little early so you don’t have a rushed start to your day. Plan your day and only make commitments you can meet. A common cause of unhappiness at work is missed deadlines which causes unnecessary stress and worry. By planning your workload, checking your diary, and making daily ‘to do’ lists, you’ll be less likely to miss deadlines. And make sure you factor in some time for breaks – they’ll re-energise and invigorate you and help you feel more positive.
4. Ask for Feedback – the happiest employees are those that feel their contribution matters. You can’t change what you don’t know, so if you don’t receive regular feedback on your work, ask for it. You could also ask customers and colleagues for feedback as well as your boss. Chances are you know how you’re performing but you just want acknowledgement – it’s a proven driver of workplace happiness.
5. Improve your workspace – think about how your space could be more pleasant. Keep your desk tidy and invest in some accessories to help you stay organised. Personalise your space with photos, flowers, a plant, and positive affirmations – anything that contributes to making you feel happy and positive.
6. Continue to learn and grow – take responsibility for your continuing education and professional development. If your company supports you by paying for courses and giving you time off, take advantage. If they don’t – do it anyway – you are the one with the most to gain from continuing to develop professionally so take charge and make investing in training a priority.
7. Know what’s going on – seek out the information you need to do your job well. Some companies are great at communicating information about the company, department and current projects being worked on – others aren’t so good. If your company is one of the latter then develop your own networks and use them to find out what you need to know.
8. Make plans – if all else fails, it might be time to start thinking about a career move. There’s nothing like planning your exit to make you smile. But don’t compromise your future by not giving your best. If you come across as happy and committed you’ll be more likely to receive a complimentary and positive reference when the time comes.
Remember, you are responsible for your own destiny. If you’re feeling unhappy at work, there are many things you can do to feel more positive and happy.