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Expert tips to find happiness at work

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09 December 2014
Expert tips to find happiness at work
Our consultants share their tips for finding happiness at work, and we look at the research that backs it up.
 

1. Build relationships

“I think it is important to find reasons to interact with other teams/departments that you would not interact with on a day-to-day basis. This could be through involvement in projects or business initiatives. By building cross functional relationships outside your immediate team, you create a stronger internal network to later draw upon when needed,” says Associate Director Christy Moses.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

“Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying,” writes University of Kentucky labour expert Christine M. Riordan in the Harvard Business Review. “Gallup (a survey company) found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.”
 

2. Step away from your desk

“Maintain your happiness levels by working in an office with plenty of natural light, and ensure that you get out into the fresh air at least once a day during the working day,” says Director Abigail Carridice.
 
“Remember that you work to live not live to work. Any successful career needs an outlet, so always allow for time away from your day to day job,” says Niall O’Rourke, Associate Director.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science found that “Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.” If you can’t get to the beach on your lunch break, don’t worry – the study found that any time spent outdoors has positive effects.
 

3. Be ambitious

 “It’s important to set yourself personal goals/targets (ideally non-financial) to measure the value you are adding to a role/organisation and these should be regularly reviewed or the targets can quickly become irrelevant,” says Regional Director David George.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

A study from the University of California-Riverside found that people who set and achieve goals are happier in the long run.
 
 
Remember that you work to live not live to work. Any successful career needs an outlet, so always allow for time away from your day to day job.
 
 

4. Take a holiday

“Make sure you take your annual leave and head overseas on a holiday. This will avoid burnout, keep you motivated and allow to you flick the off switch for a short while. When you come back to the office you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated and as a result more productive and happier throughout the work year ahead or until the next holiday!” says Global Opportunities Consultant Diana Seno.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

Happiness author Shawn Achor surveyed more than 400 travellers returning from holidays and found that many had higher energy levels after a trip – however, it depends on whether the holiday was stressful or positive.  “Positive vacations have a significant effect upon energy and stress. In our study, 94% had as much or more energy after coming back after a good trip. In fact, on low-stress trips, 55% returned to work with even higher levels of energy than before the trip. ”
 

5. Be realistic

“Understand that, even in the perfect role and company, not every day will be happy. Most successful people talk about challenges and this means they have had times where their workplace and role has been difficult and maybe not enjoyable. This is a crucial part of any role as it is actually variety, achievement and challenge that engage staff in the long term. Those that don’t seek this out or have it naturally occur in their roles will find their roles getting stale and, more importantly, their skill sets will also become stale as a result,” says Director Joss Godbold.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

A University of London study found that lower expectation leads to greater happiness, so go ahead and roll with the punches.
 

6. Practice mindfulness

“Concentrate on the task at hand. Do not let yourself be distracted by worrying about all the other things; stay in the moment. Clarify anytime you are not sure or where you are faced with conflicting demands,” says Director Corin Cheeseman.
 

Here’s what other experts say:

Sharon Salzberg, author of Happiness at Work, says in the Wall Street Journal, “Mostly what we need to do is take a break to connect. Sometimes people ritualize the reminder – you make a habit, such as not picking up the phone on the first ring, to bring some mindfulness in. Or pausing before a major meeting, or before a major conversation of some kind. That pause, other than reconnecting us with our breath, gives us some space to maybe consider our options.”
 
In the words of Director Andrew Pownall, “Enjoy the journey, everyday and in every possible way, only do those things that you want to do, be honest with yourself and don’t accept less than you want, personally and professionally, focus on your personal development, achieve your goals and enjoy the journey”.
 
 
Summary: 

Being happy at work can make a huge difference to your engagement and satisfaction.  These expert tips can help you find more happiness in the office:

  • Build relationships with co-workers
  • Step away from your desk and get some fresh air
  • Be ambitious and set goals and targets
  • Take a holiday to avoid burnout and recharge
  • Be realistic and remember that you can't be happy every day
  • Practice mindfulness and concentrate on the task at hand