Happiness @ Work

10 Attributes of a Happy Employee

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Whether it’s because of salary, job title, or job responsibilities – you name it – many people are just not happy at work; especially, when they feel trapped that they can’t find another job.  

With high unemployment and low job opportunities, people stay with their company and cope with their situation hoping that one day something bigger and better will come along.
Sadly, the disappointment of not being where you believe you should be can result in stress, depression, and misery.   So I went on a quest to find out, "does happiness at work exist?"   And when I say happiness, I do mean happy.

The following is what I found to be the top 10 attributes of happy people at work. 

  1. Surround yourself with good people…Easier said than done, right?  Nope.  Many of us already have people at work that we would consider friends.  These relationships help us cope with our environment by not feeling alone.  Many studies show that people would rather get paid less and work in an environment where they like their coworkers versus getting more money and hate their surroundings.
  2. Manage your personal time…We fall victim to All Work/No Life Balance instead of Work/Life Balance.  In part, it's because many of us want to do a good job and think that by putting in long hours it will make us stand out.  Long hours doesn't mean that your efficient…it just means you put in long hours.  So work smarter, put in long hours if you have too; otherwise, shut off the crackberry and enjoy your personal time.
  3. Don't take it serious or personal…Drama at work will always exist.  The question is what do you do about it?  It might be hard but some battles aren't worth fighting.  It's not about "winning" but instead about what you do next.  It's not high school, so just let it go.  In the end, do you think the other person is wasting their time thinking about you.
  4. Smile more...Smiling, similar to laughing, releases endorphins in our system, a chemical that gives us a euphoric feeling resulting in happiness.  The more you smile the more welcoming and approachable you become.  If you already smile a lot, you already know what I mean so you can move to the next one.
  5. Change is a constant…Whether you're in a good situation or bad one, always know that something will change.  How quickly change happens is up to you.  You are the only one that makes yourself miserable.  It's easier to focus on the bad parts of a situation and instead of telling everyone how miserable you are because you want attention, move on and focus on something positive.  Just know that it will change.
  6. Spruce up your desk…Studies show that people who are empowered to decorate their desk or office are happier than those that don't.  Why?  Well, it has to do with controlling your environment and nesting where you work.  Spending more than 8 hours a day in one location staring at blank walls is not very pleasant so try to add something that is you to your desk or office.  You'll feel better.
  7. Action and focus on the future…Daydreaming at work is not all bad unless it's your whole day and you're not getting any work done.  Some of us have careers while others have jobs.  For those that have jobs that just pay the bills -- listen up!  Do something about it.  It doesn't mean that you have to find another job (although that helps).  Why not look at doing something else outside of work that is ONLY for you?  For example, take up photography or a dance class or painting.  Do something where you can learn a new skill that's not work related.  By exercising the side of your brain that you don't get to use often (meaning creative or analytical) you will be in better spirits because you will have something else to look forward too.
  8. See behind the end results…Many people only see the success of others but don't think about the struggles or journey's he or she had to endure to get to where they are.  A friend of mine talked about how her boyfriend's boss was younger and more successful than her boyfriend.  She only focused on how unfair it was for her boyfriend while I was thinking to myself "perhaps your boyfriend couldn't cut it and it's just reality" or "perhaps this boss was lucky to have sponsors and mentors to help the boss move up".  Either way, what good does it do you to focus on what other people do.  Focus on what you can control.  Don't waste your time.
  9. Out of sight, out of mind...Many times we get emails that simply annoy us.  Either because someone is trying to throw us under the bus or someone is asking a ridiculous question.  In cases where someone is trying to hurt your credibility, don’t be impulsive and immediately respond, wait a few hours and reply with facts vs emotions.  In cases where you get ridiculous questions (where it makes sense) just delete the email.  If it's that important that person will call you.  There’s no email police that will knock on your door to give you a fine if you don’t respond to an email.  Ignoring sometimes can help your mental state in coping with trivial issues.
  10. Find a mentor…Most of the individuals I talked too had mentors.  What they’ve found is that having a sounding board helps them feel like they are being listened too and are getting non-biased advice that help them cope with issues at work.  Having a sort of work therapist has lead to these individuals to being happier at work.

Overall, what I found interesting was that happy people at work will always look at the bright side of things.  They've conditioned themselves to see the world as half full instead of half empty.  Perhaps we can try to apply some of these attributes into our daily lives and move towards happiness at work.