Ask almost anyone about happiness in the workplace, and they’ll likely tell you it’s tied to money, management, or that professional nemesis every office seems to have. But they’d be wrong.
Happiness has nothing to do with the job itself — nor does it have anything to do with a boss or a colleague. It has everything to do with you.
You need to learn what works for you. And once you figure that out, happiness, satisfaction, and all the other good stuff will fall into place, which can go a long way to improving your performance, productivity, and problem-solving skills.
How you go about tapping into this happiness is entirely up to you, but what we’ve found that works best is the following:
1. Make the first few hours count
Did you know that how you begin your morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day? If you make the first few hours of work count, you’ll get more done by the end of day. In fact, more than 60 percent of people claim they’re at their most productive between 6 a.m. and noon.
Instead of frittering away your morning on emails or chitchat, adopt a productive mindset by focusing on important tasks. Make a to-do list for the day — or get to work on the one you made yesterday, which is actually a much better habit to get into. That way, when you show up to work, you know exactly what needs to be done.
Long story short, progress can be motivational. Even the smallest of wins can inspire you to keep checking tasks off that list. And by day’s end, you’ll have accomplished more than you ever thought possible. Talk about rewarding.
2. Seek out learning opportunities
Most companies these days have development programs available to staff. But if your company isn’t one of them, don’t let that stop you from learning new skills. Create your own development program by attending conferences and classes. Or consider asking for a “stretch assignment” — one that’s just outside your current skills set.
When you actively seek out learning opportunities and develop new skills, leadership will take notice and start seeing you as someone deserving of more responsibilities. While this can most certainly lead to a better job, there’s also something very gratifying when you can demonstrate and use what you’ve learned to make a real contribution at work.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
When satisfaction is derived from being “better” than others, you’re no longer in charge of your own happiness. It’s anchored to your colleagues’ accomplishments and opinions, which can rob you of feeling any sort of joy for your wins — not to mention, those of your colleagues.
The next time you’re tempted to compare yourself to a colleague, refocus your energy on yourself. They’re never better or worse than you, just different. And that’s a good thing. A company filled with the same type of person would make for a very boring workplace. So, let go of your comparisons, and take everything with a grain of salt.
4. Make a difference outside the office
Doing good is just good business. It’s also not bad for improving your engagement at work. According to the Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, you’re almost twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with your career when participating in workplace volunteer activities.
But if your company doesn’t have a formal program, consider starting one yourself — with the help of your colleagues, of course. You’ll need some assistance finding the right charity, educating staff, determining the level of involvement, etc.…oh, and let’s not forget, getting approval from leadership to even start one.
5. Make a difference inside the office
People who want more gratification at work can find it in the last place they often look: coworkers. Doing things that help colleagues have better days can have a positive impact on your own attitude. So, start asking people about their day or if you can help them out in some way. It’ll change the way you feel on the inside.
Besides, relationships in the workplace — and we’re talking positive relationships here — can actually improve your engagement. For example, women who have a best friend in the workplace are more that twice as likely to be engaged while on the job, while having a best friend at work can improve the performance of both women and men.
Applying these strategies won’t just improve your happiness and satisfaction in the workplace; they can also change the way people see you. Use those that resonate the most and get to work at taking control of your own perception of and attitude at work.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your satisfaction and engagement at work, or would like to discuss opportunities for different employment, please feel free to contact us today. A member of our team would be more than happy to explore your employment options and help you take an additional step to advancing your career.