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31 Tips to Be Happier at Work

11 Aug 16  | Business Support |  CBSbutler
31 Tips to Be Happy at Work

Most of us will spend roughly a third of our lives at work. That being the case, it’s hard to see how anyone could argue that finding ways to be happier at work isn’t a good idea. 

Happiness, and feeling productive and successful, at work causes a feedback loop of good feelings: if we’re happy at work, we take that happiness home with us, where our loved ones multiply it, and then we take it back to work the next day. We infect our colleagues with our happiness, which makes work even better than we thought it was before, and so on and so forth. 

So if you need a little help boosting your happiness levels at work, check out our 31 top tips to be happier at work:
  1. Smile. 

    The first, and perhaps the easiest, step to being happier at work comes from within. Choose to be positive, as much as possible – the simple act of smiling alters your self-perception, tricking your brain into thinking you’re happy. Plus, smiling is contagious, so before long you’ll be surrounded by other smiling people, which is always a pick-me-up! 

  2. Avoid negativity/ negative people. 

    Just like smiles, but far more unfortunately, negativity is contagious. Being surrounded by people who turn every minor hiccup into a catastrophe, or who choose to see the bad in every situation is bound to rub off on you, and before long you’ll find yourself developing negative habits of your own. If you can, try to cheer up any happiness-vacuums that haunt your workplace, but beware: not everyone wants to be cheered up, and sometimes, it’s best just to steer clear.

  3. Get a little exercise. 

    Use the stairs instead of the lift, go for a walk at lunch time or just walk around the office while you’re on the phone (this has the added benefit of injecting a little extra energy into your phone call!). You’ll be amazed how energised you feel. Try wearing a step-meter to keep track of how many steps you’re now taking –you’ll be amazed, and get a real feeling of accomplishment from seeing how much exercise you’re now getting.

  4. Take charge of your own development. 

    A common reason for not feeling happy at work is a sense of being underdeveloped: lots of employees claim that their managers or bosses are failing  to encourage their growth. 

  5. Declutter your workspace. 

    Clean the surfaces, throw out the clutter, and find an organisational system that works for you – whether it’s in/out trays, lists, piles of paper, whatever works. A clean and tidy workspace does wonders for the organisation of the mind, and can help to improve productivity. 

  6. Do you. 

    Allow yourself ten minutes here and there during the work week to accomplish personal errands – whether it’s booking a doctor’s appointment, arranging pick-up for the kids or booking the restaurant for your best friend’s birthday, having these things nagging on your mind will distract you through all of your other tasks. Just take five or ten minutes, get it sorted, and then you can focus all of your energy and attention on the task at hand. 

  7. Change it all up a bit. 

    Doing the same job day in, day out, in the same way, with absolutely no variation… it’s a recipe for a very dull, possibly mental-breakdown inducing, life. Try to vary your routine a little, in whatever ways you can: 

  8. Remember to communicate. 

    Good communications with your teammates or manager can alleviate stress in enormous ways.

  9. Eat well. 

    A good breakfast sets you up for the day, and a good lunch and dinner provide something to look forward to! Include these nutrients:

  10. Find a sense of meaning.

    Feeling like you're doing more than clocking in and clocking out with your days is important to your long term mental health. Try and find a sense of meaning in the work you do, and if that's not possible, perhaps try to find it elsewhere, such as by volunteering, or consider changing where you work. 

  11. Make sure you’re taking your A/L.

    Almost a third of British workers failed to take full advantage of their holiday entitlement in 2014. Reasons quoted include heavy workloads, scheduling clashes and anxiety about taking time off. 

  12. Take a ‘workcation’. 

    If you really can’t take any time away from work… see if you can take work with you. Talk to your company about taking a ‘workcation’ – a working vacation, where you’re still working, but remotely, from somewhere sunny and beautiful. Perfect. 

  13. Get what you deserve. 

    If what’s making you miserable is feeling underappreciated or like you’re underearning, do something about it. Talk to your boss or manager, and if they won’t meet you halfway, consider looking elsewhere. The flipside of this is making sure that you’re getting regular feedback on your work, because knowing how your manager or boss feels about the quality of your work is likely to shine a light on why you might not have received that raise just yet, and give you an opportunity to work on fixing whatever’s holding you back. 

  14. Think about bringing your life to work. 

    Long-time culture of separating work and home lives. No longer possible in same way, two are intertwined, especially with always-on culture. Consider that keeping personal lives away from work makes workers feel marginalised at work, as though they are people outside of the office but merely drones once they walk through the office doors. Bringing home to work fosters closer working relationships, as staff feel they know one another better, and can also help life feel like a whole, cohesive experience, rather than a few hours each evening that you get to enjoy once you’ve left work. 

  15. Accept the people around you for who they are. 

    In every workplace, you’ll find someone you don’t particularly get on with, and if you’re really unlucky, it’ll be someone you actively dislike. There is only one way to deal with this: you have to accept those around you as they are, and do your best to remember that their actions and words reflect on their own issues, not yours. You can’t change people, so learn to work with them – find ways to resolve conflicts and avoid situations which might lead to unpleasantness. You can’t get on with everyone, but you can try not to have any active nemeses. 

  16. Nest.

    Personalise your workspace as much as your company will allow you to. Add photos of family or friends to your desk, bring in your comfiest cushion for your chair and maybe even get a little pot plant – greenery in the office is proven to lift spirits. 

  17. Plan your time, and ask for help if you need it.

  18. Be more than your job. 

    Remember that it’s okay to have interests and hobbies outside of work. You are allowed to be someone outside of your job title - in fact, it's downright important! Feeling like your whole identity is defined by your job is not only limiting, but if that job suddenly disappears you'll be left feeling cast adrift. Make sure you know who you are, regardless of what you do. 

  19. Start a side project.

    Pick something that you find fascinating or exciting: something that invigorates you. The point is not to feel like you've got extra work to do, but to feel that you have a project to get excited about and motivated for. 

  20. Switch tasks up.

    if one project is sapping your will to stay awake, table it for an hour or two and work on something else.

  21. Take a break.

    Do a crossword to refresh your mind. Fresh air, get outside for five minutes.

  22. Outline goals, make a plan, look to the future.

    Without goals, we’re just coasting. Defining your goals – and writing them down! – makes them feel more real, concrete and achievable. Having  a plan for the future makes us feel like we’re moving forward with purpose, rather than just ambling through life without focus. 

  23. Reward yourself.

    Make sure you're giving yourself some props for a job well done, or a task masterfully handled. It is especially important to reward yourself when achieving one of your set goals from (22).

  24. Note the highlights.

    Keep a small journal of high moments, or times when you really helped someone. When your happiness and satisfaction levels with your job are low, you can look to this to remind you of why you do your job in the first place. Remembering big wins or projects which gave you a real sense of satisfaction, or of having helped someone else, can be all it takes to completely repair your mindset. 

  25. Challenge yourself.

    We all hate the sound of more work, but having something to really get your teeth into, something that excites or intrigues you, will make going to work interesting again. 
    Possible additional bonus: if your boss notices your taking on more responsibility, you may end up being recognised with a promotion or pay rise, which is always a welcome reward for stepping up to the plate. 

  26. Stay hydrated.

    Keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important, both at work and generally. Maintaining correct levels of hydration contributes to the proper running of countless bodily processes, and has huge effects on long-term health, including preventing fatigue, reducing high blood pressure, assisting with digestive disorders, reducing acne and other skin conditions as well as preventing premature aging of the skin and even slowing the aging process… the list goes on! In addition, helps brain function, energy levels, less likely to snack which can lead to slumps. Helps mitigate/preclude headaches. 

  27. Stop competing with your colleagues.

    Work is a team sport and everyone wins when we work together: studies have shown that cooperation is far more conducive to productivity than competition. A little competition isn’t always a bad thing, of course, and a good-natured contest can be a great way to raise spirits and inject a little fun, but it’s important to remember that not everything is a game of trying to one-up your colleagues, and that often it’s far more beneficial to everyone to work together.  

  28. Meditate.

    Yes, it’s a bit of a trendy fad at the moment, and yes, you might get a couple of funny looks, but meditation is an amazing tool for many reasons. It has obvious benefits, such as reducing stress, anxiety and depression, as well as helping to increase positive emotions and life satisfaction, but has also been noted to boost immune function, heart health and reduce chronic pain.

    Meditation is also reported to have amazing effects on the brain, increasing memory and attention span, as well wreaking actual physical changes: cortical thickness is increased, particularly in areas related to introspection and attention, grey matter is increased in areas relating to memory (hippocampus) and thought (frontal lobe), and brain volume is generally increased, particularly in those areas relating to emotional regulation, positive emotions and self control. All of these improvements could massively improve your working life, with a better functioning brain and better evolved emotional intelligence.

    A few thousand years of tranquillity can’t be wrong. 

  29. Express your gratitude.

    Say thank you to the people you work with when they give you their help or expertise. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and a simple ‘thank you’ can go a surprisingly long way.

  30. Exercise in the morning.

    If you have the time, that is. Getting the blood pumping before work is proven to help improve energy levels throughout the day.

  31. Go on holiday, take a break.

    Do something different or special with a weekend. 
If you've tried everything and just can't find that happy feeling at work, perhaps it's time to consider a change of scenery.

Give us a call on 01737822000 for a confidential chat about the opportunities we can offer you,
or send your CV to if you'd like to find your happiness here with us at CBSbutler!
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