Happiness in the workplace can be hard for some people to achieve. If you’re not happy at work, you’ll probably dread heading to the office each day. If you are happy, you’ll look forward to work and what challenges lie ahead. So how can you achieve happiness at work?
Here’s a look at how workplace happiness is defined, and why it’s so important to your emotional well-being. You’ll also learn about some of the problems that work-related stress can cause both your mental and physical health and well-being.
What Does It Actually Mean To Be Happy At Work?
Happiness can be an elusive thing. When it comes to being happy at work, how do you define it? Does the amount of compensation you receive lead to being happy? What about the people around you or the work you do? Or is something else? Workplace happiness is defined differently by everyone.
According to one survey, there are 10 factors that determine workplace happiness. Compensation, you might be surprised to learn, barely cracks the list. The factor most employees who answered the survey closely linked to happiness is being appreciated for their work.1
Here’s the rest of the list ranked by participants from most important to least:
- Having good relationships with fellow employees
- Having a good balance between work and home life (more on this later)
- Positive relationships with bosses
- The financial stability of an employer
- Opportunities for learning and developing careers
- Job security
- A good salary
- Interesting work
- The values of the company2
How would you rank the items on this list? Would some of them even stay, or would you replace them with others you believe are more important? If your job doesn’t meet your personal “happiness factors,” so to speak, see if you can speak with your employer. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, or you’re unsatisfied with the response you receive, maybe it will be time to start looking for another job.
Happiness On The Job: What Is The Importance Of Workplace Happiness?
Research on happiness at work suggests that it can have a direct impact on productivity. According to one study, employees who are happy are as much as 20 percent more productive than those who aren’t.3 Interestingly, salespeople who are happy achieve nearly 40 percent more sales than unhappy sales professionals.4
Focusing on employee happiness and employee well-being can also have a significant effect on a company’s bottom line. Fortune magazine publishes an annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. From 1998 to 2005, the stock prices of the companies on the list increased an average of 14 percent each year. Stocks of companies that didn’t make the list increased only 6 percent.5
But more importantly, happy employees are more self-confident and productive. They keep a positive attitude, and that can be contagious. In addition, they’re supportive of other employees, creating a workplace that people love to be at every day. When employees are happy, they may also be more creative.6
Tips On Being Happier At Work
If you’re not quite as happy as you believe you should be at work, there are a few things you can try that might help. For example, the Positive Psychology website suggests that employees who have cluttered desks make a commitment to de-clutter. Finding creative ways to decorate the area in which you work could help you feel reinvigorated – and possibly even increase your concentration levels.7
Employers, of course, also play a role in creating a happier workplace. The site also recommends increased employee engagement in the area of feedback. Constructive feedback can make for a better work environment. One way to do this is to discuss the day’s upcoming assignments first thing in the morning and have employees ask for feedback on what needs to be done. It’s also important that employers provide feedback as soon as possible once they receive a completed assignment.8
Providing feedback is critical for employees as well. If you are unhappy with certain work processes, don’t be afraid to let your boss know – in a respectful manner, of course. If there’s something else about your job that could make you happier if it changed, talk about that as well.
There are a few other things you can try if you want to be happier at work. One is to take time for yourself during the day. Don’t try to push through your lunch hour to perform a task. You need this mental break – otherwise, you could quickly become so overwhelmed that you can’t function properly. Skipping a lunch break can also quickly lead to burnout.9
Another great way to ensure your level of happiness on the job is to always be yourself. While this can be difficult when working, it’s critically important. If you try to change your personality in order to fit in or please your boss, that will probably make your job more stressful. Be confident in who you are and the work you’re capable of doing.10
How To Maintain A Healthy Work-Life Balance
It can be very challenging for a lot of people to find a good balance between their work life and their home life. You might put in more hours at the office because you’re worried about losing your job or staying on top of all your tasks. As a result, it can really hurt your home life.11
Trying to be perfect at your job can throw off your work-life balance. No one ever reaches perfection – trying to do so is another sure way to experience burnout. Look to achieve excellence instead. Also, when you leave work, truly leave work. That means unplugging from your job responsibilities once you get back home. For instance, don’t send work emails once your home for the night.12
It will be impossible to find a good work-life balance if you’re not healthy. So that should be your main focus at all times, no matter how crazy it might get in the office or at home. Eat right and get plenty of exercise and sleep. You’ll have more energy and focus, and you’ll be more productive as well.13
Finally, never take your relationships with your friends and family members for granted. The healthier these relationships are, the happier you’ll be – whether at work or at home. Putting your career ahead of the people you love may eventually lead to loneliness.14
Not Happy At Work? How Work-Related Stress Can Affect Your Physical And Mental Health
Happiness works wonders for you, both physically and mentally. But if you are overwhelmed due to stress, that can cause serious harm. From a physical standpoint, excessive stress can damage your cardiovascular system. It can even negatively impact your blood circulation and metabolism.15
If you’re always stressed due to your job, that can increase the chances of developing mental health problems as well. Stress hormones can harm the areas of the brain that control your emotions. If you are constantly stressed, that can affect the way your brain responds to that stress. There is even evidence that long-term stress can affect the brain’s structure in a way that increases the risk for mental illness.16
Hopefully, you realize how important happiness at work can be. If you’re not in a happy workplace, and it’s starting to affect you to the point where it’s negatively impacting the quality of your life, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional.