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Try These Workplace Happiness Hacks

In this tight job market, employers have started to pay more attention to their employees’ level of on-the-job satisfaction. Yes, it’s true that the primary purpose of your career is to earn a living. But it’s also true that people who feel happy at work are more productive, more engaged, and more likely to stay at their jobs.

Whether or not your company has formal programs to engage employees, it’s up to you to create your own sense of wellbeing. Workplace happiness means different things to different people. Often you will find that happiness lies in the little things – the parts of your workplace culture that are not covered in your salary and benefits.

Finding happiness at work is sometimes easier said than done. You may start the day eager to dive into your projects. But by the end of the workday, you struggle to stay focused long enough to send an email or return a phone call. Rough days at work are unavoidable. If you generally feel happy and fulfilled at work, that can help you get through those stressful times.

Here are a few workplace happiness hacks to try:

  • Craft your job. I heard this term at a recent conference. The speaker said, “Don’t just do your job. Craft it.” Think about your current duties and responsibilities. Then take those things and visualize how you would like your job to be. Organize these components of your vision and think about how you can apply them in your current job. Sometimes, this process can be as simple as identifying your motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, and then mapping out how you want to grow professionally.
  • Like your workspace. Any job includes tasks that are boring and mundane. That doesn’t mean your workspace has to be. Decorate your desk with a plant or a photo of your family or friends. If your space is large enough, add an accent furniture piece or some artwork. Making your workspace your own is a small way to add to your sense of pride in your work. Just remember to keep any décor professional and consistent with your company polices. Avoid clutter. Your goal is to personalize your space, not add items that get in your way.
  • Find your person(s). I know people joke about having a work best friend or a work spouse… but it’s true that having someone at work who’s in our corner makes a difference. Having a person with whom you can talk about work-related topics can help build trust and make you feel more engaged. Some days, it’s what makes your workday bearable. As with personalizing your workspace, keep the conversation topics professional and lighthearted, and even laugh a little.
  • Record your “Whys.” Start a journal or a Word document where you can note the meaningful moments in your job that make you stick around. Every now and then, take a few minutes to write down the good stuff: how you helped someone, names of people who cross your path, how someone thanked you, what you are grateful for, or an accomplishment. It sounds cheesy, but if you’re having a bad day and feel like throwing in the towel, you can look back at what you’ve written to remind yourself of how you’ve grown, your value to your workplace, and the positive impact that you have – give yourself some credit!
  • Move your body. You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth a reminder: Moving your body, even if it’s just a mere 10 minutes, can release endorphins that improve your mood. Take a few breaks throughout your day. Leave your workspace and take a short walk or do a few simple stretches. Set reminders if you need to until taking breaks becomes a habit. Whatever you do, try not to think about work while you’re doing it.

There is no solid recipe for workplace happiness. It will look different for everyone. Try these workplace happiness hacks and see what works for you. Hopefully they will make your workdays happier and more productive.

Sharine Sample is the Regional Workforce Development Manager at Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina. Learn more about Goodwill’s employment services here.