I will always remember the antics of one of my co-workers whose desk was beside mine at my first corporate job. Dan would saunter into the office whenever it suited him and immediately announce his arrival to the entire staff. In a bellowing voice, he would ask the same question every morning: “Who can I annoy today?”
When I first heard the question, I could not tell whether he was being serious. I quickly discovered that this was part of his daily routine, as my colleagues always smiled and laughed as he meandered through every corner of the office, greeting everyone personally as he shared a funny story; topped off with a heavy dose of self-deprecating humour. I distinctly recall the shrieks of laughter as Dan single-handedly entertained us all. A day without Dan was a dull day. His cheerful, charismatic personality endeared him to just about everyone…except a few who preferred to remain miserable.
There is no greater waste of energy than getting up every morning in anticipation of spending yet another day doing something we hate. If we aren’t enjoying our work, chances are we’re not much fun to be around. On the other hand, when we feel inspired at work, we make a difference to our co-workers and those closest to us. Our clients also benefit when we are happy, and customer service levels improve dramatically when we feel more connected to our vocation.
A recent survey examining the top drivers of workplace happiness found that only fifteen percent of workers say their paycheck is the number one factor that defines their job happiness. Feeling gratitude for having a job at all, a sense of purposeful work and experiencing rapport with one’s colleagues ranked much higher on the satisfaction scale.
If you are not feeling the love at work, the place where you spend the majority of your time each day, here are some simple strategies to increase your happiness quotient:
1. Start each day with a pleasurable task
Choose to do something you enjoy, whether it relates to your work or personal life. There is little point engaging in a daily ritual that brings you down, or starting your day with a chore that you loathe.
2. Find a source of humour and access it frequently
The physiological benefits that result from laughter cannot be overstated. In addition to giving our vital organs a great internal massage, laughter will improve blood flow and increase oxygen levels throughout the body and the brain in particular, helping us to think more clearly and reduce stress.
3. Have your coffee or lunch with people you like
Why spend break times with co-workers who truly annoy you? Although you may have to work with them, you don’t need to socialize with those who drain your energy. Surround yourself with people you enjoy during time away from work.
4. Create an inspiring workspace
You may have little say regarding the colour of the office walls or choice of wallpaper. However, your personal workspace is your domain and you can still be inventive regarding how you arrange items on your desk in order to stimulate your mind and create a positive flow of energy
5. Become involved in altruistic activities
By helping others through volunteer activities, it is often the volunteer who realizes a deeper benefit. Not-for-profit organizations of every description are constantly seeking volunteers for a variety of community programs. By getting out of your own head and making a difference to those who need help or companionship, you can indeed become happier.
If you are miserable in your job, realize the price you pay in terms of the physiological, psychological and emotional consequences to your well being.
Based in Vancouver, Michelle Ray is the CEO & Founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute
Image: “Business Man And Lady With Red Hart” by supakitmod