Lately, there’s been the constant bombardment of stories, news, e-mails, text messages, and newsletters (including mine!) that tell you how make this year better. As we think about ourselves and what might make us better, I also wanted to take a look at our environment – the space where we spend most of our days – at work. What makes that better?
According to Gallup, in a study of over 180 million employees, only “13% of employees worldwide are happily engaged at work.” That means most of us spend the hours of our day doing things we don’t want to do, in a place we don’t want to be.
I Googled a few topics about workplace happiness and because I found there are 15 Proven Tips, 37 Ways, 16 Things Guaranteed, 10 Tips, 7 Habits, and 25 Little Things that we can do to get happier at work; I decided to review them and tell you, for sure, the fail-safe practices that will make you happy at work – for real!
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and founder of GoodThink, Inc., defines happiness as: The joy you feel moving toward your potential. This is the best definition out there because happiness doesn’t usually mean sitting on a warm beach all the time – you’d totally get bored, and you could never do this for eight hours every weekday for more than 30 years. (You’d probably disintegrate.)
He says there are habits that will change someone from a dutiful pessimist to an encouraging optimist; and if your employees are happy, they are scientifically proven to be 31% more productive. That’s notable. (No, I didn’t just flip the stats.)
So after reviewing a bunch of articles that included everything from creating a sense of purpose and meaning (important) to having a mini dance party (not important), it actually came down to some extremely basic self-care actions. (Mini dance parties are super-important, just not that determinant of workplace happiness.)
I made a list of all the suggestions I found, 126, because I really wanted to see what companies are looking at in order to engage their employees. Based on the Gallup Survey, if they’re not looking at something to kick-start engagement programs they will undoubtedly experience constant turnover and negligibly engaged people. That fact alone will hold back a company’s potential performance. Employees, not customers, are what drive your revenue.
Firstly, very few of the suggestions were repeated, but here are the extremely basic self-care actions that did come up over and over:
- Eat healthy
- Drink a lot of water
- Sleep well
- Find gratitude
- Have fiends
Obviously, these actions encompass your personal life as well. So now you have 6 things you can do everyday to stay happy in general – at work and at home.
Another suggestion that surprisingly came up over and over was “Reward Yourself.” A reward would certainly better your workday, but I came away wondering, “Is no one recognizing your job well-done? Are there no rewards for winning that big client or killing that presentation?” Rewarding yourself for strong efforts or accomplishments can never hurt, but if you hope to advance in your career, be sure someone knows you’re accomplishing these things for the company. And to the company, I’d say, “Recognize when your employees exceed expectations!” Because if you don’t, they’ll walk.
One more item that kept showing up was “Smile” or “Laugh.” I didn’t include this in my top-6 because although faking a smile helps your brain think your happy, it looks really fake, and authenticity is especially important at work – otherwise people won’t trust you. So smile when you’re happy and laugh whenever you want – and hopefully that’s very often!
The bottom line is if you begin with the 6 actions mentioned above, not only your work life but your whole life will be a whole lot better!!