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10 Ways to be Happier at Work

It’s no secret that an unhappy worker will produce less than someone who is happy with her job. But inspiring happiness at work isn’t always as easy as it seems. You’re battling personality differences, exhaustion, overwhelm, and work/life balance concerns.

If you want to boost job satisfaction and get your employees more engaged, here are ten things you can do to combat common happiness drains from your workplace.

10 Ways to be Happier at Work

#1. Remove as Much Blue Light as Possible

Every day, we’re exposed to a variety of hues of light. Blue light is one of them. Although some blue light is okay, being exposed to too much blue light can zap you of energy.

Still, we’re exposed to blue light daily. The amount of screens we use to access our smartphones, work at our computer, or watch television is overwhelming and it can be exhausting.

If you absolutely must be on your devices, download an app, such as f.lux to remove some of the blue light from your screens so you can give your eyes a little break from the blue wavelengths, helping to re-energize your body.

#2. Add Greenery to Your Office

Adding a few houseplants to your office can boost productivity by 15%, according to Dr. Chris Knight at Exeter University.

According to Dr. Knight’s study, adding one plant per square meter boosted employee performance substantially. As a rule, if your employee can see a plant from her desk, she’s more psychologically engaged and happier at work.

#3. Drop the Rigid Routine

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people: Workers who have the flexibility to manage their own schedule, working when and where they are most comfortable, tend to be happier, according to the American Psychological Association.

Although it’s ideal to give people the freedom to work whenever, wherever, it’s not always possible. If your team works in shifts and must come into the office, there are still ways you can infuse flexibility into your workplace, making your employees happier.

For example, give your team the flexibility to make schedule changes anytime, anywhere by using an online scheduling app. This way, they feel more in control of their lives, allowing them to balance unexpected family demands with the work at hand.

Another example is to schedule your team based on the hours they prefer to work. Some people are early birds while others are night owls. Letting your team work when they feel happiest and most productive will make their jobs more enjoyable.

#4. Get Physical

Do your employees spend the bulk of their days sitting behind a desk? If they’re sedentary, chances are, they’re unhappy. The more active they are, the less likely your team will be to encounter job burnout and dissatisfaction at work.

Get your team up and moving. Start a running club to inspire and encourage each other to move. Or, offer up a company discount for a membership to a gym in your area.

#5. Say Thank You

Employees who feel appreciated and valued tend to do more than is asked of them. Simple tokens of appreciation can serve as small doses of inspiration to your team members. This can be as simple as thanking an employee for going out of her way to get the job done right. It does not have to mean giving bonuses or “Employee of the Month” prizes. It only has to do with making your team feel valued.

#6. Keep It Interesting

One of the top factors in job satisfaction, according to Happify, is the interest in the work itself. If the job gets boring, your employees will burn out. They’ll feel more like robots instead of skilled workers. This can lead to a steep decline in happiness at work.

Keep your team’s job interesting by giving them challenges and attainable goals to work toward. Then, take a step back and let them do what they need to (within reason) to achieve those goals. The less you micromanage the better. This will make it feel more personal. It will also give them the motivation they need to work hard toward a solution and the satisfaction of reaching a goal.

#7. There’s No “I” in Team

Ever heard the expression, “there’s no ‘I’ in team”? That’s because the strongest teams work cohesively. This group approach toward a common goal serves a purpose beyond putting more people to work at the job at hand. It also serves to make your team feel like they belong and that their contributions are important to a greater good.

To build your team and make each person feel like their work is important, find specific ways their job benefits the greater good of the company. The more they can feel like their role is helping the company succeed on a higher level, the happier they’ll be to do their job.

#8. Teach Happiness

It might seem counterintuitive to teach your employees how to be happy, but it’s possible.

Offering continual training and educational opportunities can help your employees progress on a personal level. They will learn new skill sets to become a stronger person all around, which in turn helps them feel more motivated to put their new talents to work.

Although you’re not specifically teaching how to be happy, you’re teaching your employees new skills that’ll promote their own happiness and well-being.

#9. Make Every Day Feel Like the First Day

It’s hard to mistake the feeling of excitement and motivation that an employee has the first day she steps into the office. She’s eager to get to know her colleagues, learn how to do her job well, and prove that hiring her was the right decision. She’s motivated.

That motivation tends to last during the first year on the job but quickly fizzles out as year two rolls around, according to Globoforce’s Spring 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker survey.

To keep your team happy at work, keep the job feeling fresh and exciting. Consistently introduce new mini-projects and short-term goals to give your employees something to work toward.

#10. Treat at Happy Hour

The same Globoforce survey found that 89% of employees say work relationships have a direct impact on their quality of life. The culture in your office has a profound influence on how happy your team is when they’re on the job.

To inspire your employees to come together, hold regular team building events outside of the workplace. Treat your team to happy hour after they meet a goal. Give your employees a half day off so they can go bowling together or engage in another fun activity together. The point is to get your team engaged with something beyond work so they can deepen their relationships and feel happier when they walk in the door Monday morning.

Creating a Happier Workplace Starts With You

Inspiring happiness in the workplace starts with stronger management and a more inspiring work environment. By following these ten tips, you can promote happier employees and ultimately boost productivity on the job.

Image: Shutterstock


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Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine's Top 500 Software Companies 2004-2007 and again in 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2016. http://www.schedulebase.com

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Comments
  • Christina Battons

    Yes, a flexible schedule is always comfortable. I am working as a freelance writer and I independently plan my work time. It allows me to combine work and private life. So I am very happy at my work. Thanks, Jon, for this good article.

  • Jon: Have you listened to my followup conversation with the author of HappyWork, Chris Reimer?




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