Humor me for a moment as we conduct a little test. Open up your browser and type in “how to be happier.” I’ll bet the first suggestion that pops up is “how to be happier at work” — that or “how to be happier at your job.”
Well, there’s a big reason for that.
Besides the fact that we spend nearly a third of our day on the job, and it’s only natural to want this time to be as fun and satisfying as possible, studies suggest that happiness often makes you more productive — 12 percent more, to be exact. It also improves engagement, job satisfaction, and the ability to collaborate, which are all the makings of professional success.
But what if you’re not currently happy with your job? Is there a way to make your time at work a bit more rewarding? And the answer is a resounding yes.
Here are five tips for bringing about more gratification and satisfaction in the workplace:
1. Get a jump on the day
Your first hour of the day sets the tone for the entire eight. If you make the first 60 minutes of work count, you’ll get more done by the end of day. In fact, more than 60 percent of people claim they’re most productive between 6 a.m. and noon, so take advantage of your mornings.
Instead of frittering away that first precious hour on emails or chitchat, get in the mindset to be productive 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. Rewarding, right?
Related: Why It’s Important to Stay Hungry and Have Fun
2. Seek out growth opportunities
Not all companies have formal development programs. If your company is one of them, don’t let that stop you from learning new skills. Create your own development program by attending classes and conferences. Or consider asking for a “stretch assignment” — one that’s just outside your current skills set.
Actively seeking out learning opportunities and developing new skills can make leadership 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 competing at work
Competition can be healthy, but it can also be counterproductive in the workplace. When you compete, you often take on a mindset of what’s yours is yours. And anyone stepping into your territory is seen as a trespasser, impeding both cooperation and collaboration.
People work together much better when not pitted against one another. Instead of building silos, break them down and help your colleagues. After all, success isn’t finite. Just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean there’s any less success to go around. Share your resources, and your colleagues will share their wins.
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.
Related: 6 Reasons to Seek Out Volunteer Opportunities
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.
If you consider yourself part of the 70 percent of disengaged workers, what could a little bit more happiness do for you? It’s completely within your power to find that happiness, as long as you’re willing to do the work on your end.
Want to learn more about how to improve your satisfaction and engagement at work, or 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.