Bosses everywhere constantly ask themselves what can make their employees work harder, and the answer may be simply to keep employees happy. But this doesn’t just mean fatter paychecks (though that wouldn’t hurt, either). In fact, surveys have shown that more than financial compensation, employees seek a job that provides them with security, a variety of tasks, and the opportunity to advance and improve their skills. Those things might make a job worth keeping, but what can make your job something you enjoy? The saying goes, "If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life." While that may be true, not everyone is so lucky as to get paid to do what they love. For those of you who have to separate what you do for a living from what you do for fun, here are a few tips to help you get the most happiness out of your job.
- Take a break. According to the Harvard Business Review, adults can be happier and more productive when they can take their mind off of work and other stressors during the day, even for just a few minutes. These breaks can include: doing a crossword puzzle or other brainteaser during the lunch break, turning a cell phone off for 30 minutes, walking around outside for a few minutes, or doing office-based exercises. You will likely come back to work feeling refreshed and renewed, and could end up physically and mentally healthier in general.
- Make friends with coworkers. Spending time with your coworkers both at the office and outside of the workplace can improve your feelings about a work environment — or at least help you cope with it better. Best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, said having work friendships can make the job more fun. She recommends periodically dining with coworkers and discussing both work and personal life.
- Do the worst parts first. Leading business magazine Forbes recommends starting your day with the part you hate the most — whether it’s a stack of paperwork or making a difficult phone call, because the task only gets worse with time. That can also mean you can end your day on a more positive note by doing more enjoyable.
- Work hard and do your best. This may seem difficult at a job that you dislike, especially if you are dissatisfied by a lack of challenges or motivation to continue working hard. But the authors of GetRichSlowly.org maintain that giving even the worst tasks everything you have can be far more rewarding than just doing the bare minimum, and it can pay off in the future when bonuses, raises, promotions, or letters of recommendation for a new job may come around.
- Think positive; act happy. Thinking positive and acting happy are actually two different ways to gain job satisfaction, but they are closely related and feed off of each other. It’s only logical, according to the Journal of Cultural Conversation, that if you focus on the negative aspects of every situation, such as your job, you will not see anything positive about it. Changing your attitude can make a big difference in how you feel. And if you can’t change your attitude, at least pretend that you have — smile, say nice things, and continue to work as if you are happy with your job — and you just might end up actually being happier.
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