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How to Find More Joy in Your Work

Do you jump out of bed on a Monday morning glad to be going to work? Perhaps that seems like something only the super-rich or the super-successful do (or the super irritating), but it is possible to find joy in any job, and it’s not compulsory to jump out of bed to achieve it. A caveat first: You won’t feel it all the time, and it won’t come for free. However, life is too short not to experience joy in your work so make achieving it a priority in your life with the following tips you can start working on today.

Build meaningful relationships

Strong social networks have been proven time and time again to make you happier at work. If you are disconnected from your colleagues and just focused on getting your job done and logging off, you can damage your self-esteem and happiness, limiting your potential for joy. The moments of relief, support, and humor with your co-workers can inject happiness into your day. So don’t be an island; get to know your colleagues, say hi, offer support or help. Take actions that show goodwill by sharing compliments. There’s definitely more fun to be had when you are part of a community.

Look for opportunities and find your “why”

Being bored at work or stuck in a rut of the same day-to-day responsibilities will drain you dry of your happiness potential. Doing work that is meaningful to you will seriously increase your chances of being happy in your work, especially if you buy into the company goals and see how your work contributes to them, according to research conducted by the University of Alabama. Further, they found that although pay is important insofar as you need to be fairly and commensurately compensated for the work that you do, it is not a primary factor in being happy at work. In fact, companies that gave workers a percentage of time to craft their own roles and responsibilities found this made them happier and more productive. However, many employers perceive a lack of control in this type of role structuring and are nervous to instigate it. So, unless you can secure a role at LinkedIn or Google who already practice this; look for new opportunities or projects in your company that pique your interest and ask to contribute. Be open to exploration: It will broaden your horizons, possibly challenge you, and will help you remember your “why.”

Control and having the courage to ask for changes

Studies have found that the more control you have over your work and how you do it will help you enjoy your role. This can simply be done by structuring your day in a way that suits your working style and using time management techniques to block out times to respond to emails or doing more involved work when you are at your best in the mornings, for example. You could also speak to your manager about working from different locations or from home at times, which is certainly more possible given evolving work patterns. Having more control over your time will make you feel better and more empowered to tackle your ever-growing mountain of work.

If you feel there is something more fundamental that needs to change and you have ideas about how to improve things, then have the courage to step up and ask. If you want to work on a different project, ask. If you want a promotion, talk to your boss about how you can get there. Nothing will fall in your lap, and most times if you don’t ask, you don’t get it. So get asking!

Lean into imperfection

It’s important to remember that you are not always going to feel good about work and you will have your off days. As in life, many things at work are out of your control, so be kind to yourself. If you can lean into imperfection, by taking on and embracing it you will find a way to alleviate and even benefit from difficult times. There is some peace in acceptance of certain situations and through that a type of joy. So, strive to accept change and uncertainty and you will improve your well-being.

In summary, workplace happiness really matters. It equals success and positivity. It reduces stress and improves physical and mental health. So not only is it of significant importance to employees, but employers too have a duty to make workplaces that promote happiness. I’ll leave my closing words to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama who said: “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” And that’s something everyone can get on board with.


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