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How to be Happier at Work

Posted on 21st March 2019 by Preet Kaur

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On average, we spend a third of our day at work (or at least half if you count being stuck in Auckland traffic)! That’s over 2,000 hours a year being surrounded by people you may not usually choose to spend time with. Which poses a big question: “Are you happy at the one place you spend most of your time in?”

Just like your work, your colleagues can throw challenges and surprises at you each day. I’m sure you have your own stories of how one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch but what about the good ones? I’ve worked with several challenging people throughout my 16+ years of working in New Zealand, but I’ve also seen where one person can have a huge impact on the team and set an important example for others. Here is my advice on how you can be that person.

Take Accountability

Some believe that workplace culture “comes from the top” but does it? Of course, management can impact culture and decide on the consequences of unacceptable behaviour, but everyone has an important role to play. How are management meant to know when someone needs to be held accountable if there is no-one bold enough to stand up?

Taking accountability for your own actions and calling out others for unacceptable behaviour is key to improving and maintaining a positive workplace culture. This also extends to management as well. When your managers agree to take certain actions then hold them accountable for upholding the company’s values.

Be Positive

We’re hard-wired to see negatives rather than positives and it can often be why receiving constructive criticism is difficult for most people to handle. Keep this in mind when you’re holding yourself and others accountable. Be mindful to stay positive and objective, and thoughtful of other people’s feelings and circumstances.

If you’re determined to make your time at work and with those around you worthwhile and enjoyable, then a positive attitude will always follow.

Appreciate Others

Due to our brains’ tendency to focus on negativity, it can often be easy to forget to provide positive feedback when it matters most. Being just as proactive to highlight positive behaviour as negative can make a huge difference to the day-to-day culture of your workplace. Sharing the successes of your colleagues can help to build an environment of appreciation and collaboration.

Smile & the World Smiles with You

Positive actions are infectious but so are negative ones. Research has found that smiling and frowning can have an unconscious emotional impact on those around you, so something as simple as your facial expression can alter the way people perceive and empathise with you. Choosing to live and breathe positivity can spread it to your colleagues and help to encourage a culture of community and empathy.

The impact on performance and productivity that bringing a positive attitude to work can have cannot be understated and will benefit everyone. Research has shown that a happier workplace improves key performance statistics, such as employee retention, customer service levels, sale profits and even the company’s stock prices.

Closing Thoughts

A smile can go a long way. If you’re in a workplace culture that you’re unhappy with, start by looking inwards. What can you do differently to encourage change? Can you be more accountable or actively positive?

It’s also important to note that some people are simply happier than others. Spending more time with naturally happy people can have an instant positive impact on your own overall satisfaction and tendency to spread further positivity. And remember, when you smile, the world smiles back.

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