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Easy tips on how to make yourself happy at work

By Michael Crump | 08 January 2018

Everybody wants to be happy at work and for many of us, work is the thing that allows us to be happy in other aspects of our lives. However, considering how important our work lives are to most of us and how much time we actually spend working, then we should really try to be happy at work.

Apart from just putting a smile on your face, the added benefit is that a happy worker is a more productive worker as mounting research suggests. Here, we give you some helpful hints to make your work life more enjoyable regardless of what you do.

Top ways you can be happy at work 

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Maintain a sleek work environment.
  3. Small rewards.
  4. Communication is key.
  5. Beware the green-eyed monster.
  6. You can control your own destiny; but you can’t control everything.
  7. Stay true to you.
  8. Keep smiling, keep positive.

1. Love what you do.

The first trick to being happy at work is to love what you do… duh. Take some time to figure out what it is that you enjoy in life, what you’re passionate about and then try to find ways to turn that into a career. This career guide can help with that.

If you already have your dream job, you’ll be motivated and enjoying work already, so it shouldn’t be difficult to be happy at work. But not all of us can have our dream job for all of our lives. Even for those of us who have found our dream job, there can still be a lot of stress or displeasure with work – that’s just life.

brunette haired young woman smiling at document

2. Maintain a sleek work environment.

If you work in an office, take a look around your workspace the next chance you get. What do you see? If you’re like many people, you’ll likely see clutter. Crumpled up notes, an excess of pens, months old Post-It-Notes and (if you’ve really lost control) old take-out food containers. This junk is not conducive to a productive environment.

You need to streamline your work area. You should give yourself as much room in which to manoeuvre as possible, feeling cramped can add to stress and negativity. If you keep your workspace clean and uncluttered, you’re likely to work more efficiently and produce better work. However, in your attempt to de-clutter, don’t get rid of everything.

A reminder of home or your loved ones is always a good decoration to keep you motivated.  Remind yourself of the people who are the reason you work as hard as you do.

3. Small rewards.

Give yourself a break. Working incessantly until your brain is fried and you begin to resemble a paranoid insomniac is not a particularly effective way of remaining productive. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make small, attainable goals and take short breaks after achieving them.

Don’t underestimate the power of small rewards; studies have shown that small rewards can improve performance.

man holding smiley mask over face

4. Communication is key.

One of the biggest factors that affect our happiness is the people around us. They can lift us up when we are down or they can bring us down when we’re up. In order to keep yourself happy at work, you must be careful to make certain that your co-workers are a source of positivity and strength for you and not energy zapping negative-nancy’s.

Always be friendly and courteous and never pass up an opportunity to lend a hand; they’re likely to return the favour. You have to keep the lines of communication open with your co-workers to ensure you maintain a good relationship. If something is bothering you, you should let your co-worker know in a calm and collected manner.

Nipping small problems in the bud is far better than letting them fester and boil over later in an angry tirade of resentment. If you’re looking for more ways to get along with contentious co-workers, have a look at this post.

5. Beware the green-eyed monster.

Comparing yourself to others is a tricky proposition and one that rarely yields positive results. This is definitely true when you find yourself envying others’ successes or positions. If there’s something you want, work towards getting it. But make sure you want it for you, not to measure up to somebody else’s concept of success.

Jealousy is merely the side-effect of a narrow mind that believes success in this world is finite and others’ successes limit your own opportunities. Work hard to accomplish your own goals and don’t bother worrying about what others have or haven’t done.

man smiling paper half smile

6. You can control your own destiny; but you can’t control everything.

It is always advantageous to remember the “Serenity Prayer” from Reinhold Nieubuhr:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

You have to understand and accept that you cannot control absolutely everything. Others’ actions, external circumstances and happenstance will all exercise a measure of influence over your life. It’s important to be aware of this, but not to fret about those things which you cannot change.

young woman with dark hair looking happy

7. Stay true to you.

Another key factor in being happy at work is being happy with the work itself. You must respect what you do and for whom you do it. “Selling out” might lead to temporary happiness in the form of financial gain, but your guilty conscience will eventually weigh on you, dragging you down.

If you’re ever asked by an employer to transgress one of your moral standards, think long and hard about doing so. If you eventually decide that any action would breach your code of ethics, you must refuse to do it. Any decent boss will respect your decision and if they don't, then you’re better off somewhere else. You’ll be happier looking for a new job knowing your morality is still intact rather than continuing to work in a job that makes you feel guilty.

8. Keep smiling, keep positive.

When you’re happy, that’s what counts. The important thing to remember at all times is to stay positive. Just smiling to yourself can help when all else seems to fail. What are your techniques to keeping happy and what is your “serenity now” moment?

Learn with Upskilled and improve your job prospects

If you really want to find a new job, perhaps gaining some qualifications in an area you really love might assist you in your well-being. Upskilled offers around 100 courses online in everything from Business to Beauty - so you can get ahead in a format that suits your lifestyle. You can study any where and any time you like; it's flexible learning. Search courses here.

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