"You're somewhat useful at work, but irreplaceable at happy hour!" 🤣
We spend 92,120 hours at work during our lifetime, on average. That works out to be between 1/5 and 1/2 of our usable time on the planet. Whichever end of the scale you look at it, it's a significant amount of time. So, the question is, "Is happiness at work important?"
I would say it is.
In fact, I would go further and say, do your best to extend your happiness to all aspects of your life. Not that happiness is the only thing worth seeking in life. In fact the philosophical arguments rage on the subject, focusing primarily on the inevitable setbacks, pain and suffering we will all experience at points throughout our lives.
However, being happy at work is the specific focus for us in this blog. Happiness at work is about more than just feelings. It's about flourishing! Here are 4 factors that will contribute to your happiness at work and determine how much you will flourish.
Having friends at work is a major indicator of motivation, satisfaction and engagement at work. The ability to exchange jokes, banter and personal stories boosts personal resilience, breaks any sense of isolation and reinforces feelings of belonging.
Work friends are often long-lasting, and this can be a double-edged sword. On one hand they are one of the main reasons employees cite for staying with a company. On the other, if a work friend moves on, the people who are left can feel deserted and their happiness undermined.
In this sense, work friendships can be fleeting if they are not carried over into life outside work and their contribution to someone's happiness is can be equally flimsy.
About 10% of the population seek out employment where the values of the organisation match their personal values and the trends suggest this is increasing. Working somewhere which makes you feel proud, boosts things like loyalty, trust and even self esteem.
All of these good feelings contribute to the individual's happiness and, this time, they are potentially more durable.
Many people miss this opportunity because they focus on their skills and experience when moving between jobs. Seeking out a "good fit" based on your values often elicits significantly better results.
Happiness at work is similarly stimulated when there are opportunities for personal growth. However, this may not come in an easily accessed format. Learning and Development strategies seldom consider what the individual is looking for themselves. Usually they focus on what the organisation needs next.
So, if you're interested in developing skills in an area outside of your current activities, you may need to take matters into your own hands and volunteer for some additional work so you can learn on the job.
The payoff is massive though. Not only will your reputation be enhanced as someone willing to go the extra mile, you will also acquire skills in areas that interest you.
What is the Return On your Investment (ROI) of time and effort into your workplace? People who feel they are reward appropriately, are generally happier.
Interestingly, this is the one most employers focus on and yet it is rarely top of the list for employees. Nevertheless, if the ROI is not there, employees will be easily lured away from their current jobs.
Assess this for yourself. Get it right and your happiness will be underpinned by an increasing sense of loyalty in response to a perceived fair deal.
The good news, whether you want to believe it or not, you always have a choice. Staying somewhere that is not contributing to your overall state of happiness is a choice. Leaving to find a job with one or more of the factors above, is also a choice.
This quote may help;
"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." - Steve Jobs
What about you? Are you happy? Are the four factors above in place where you work? What can you do to change it for the better?
Please brighten up someone's day and share this with your networks!
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