How to Be Happy at Work (Steps And Why It's Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Your job is where you usually spend most of your hours during the week, so it's essential to find joy in it. Happiness at work involves creating relationships with your colleagues, rewarding yourself for your contributions and prioritising your health and wellbeing. Learning how to be happier in your career can improve your job satisfaction and motivate you to keep progressing in your career. In this article, we explain the importance of being happy at work and discuss steps on how to accomplish this.

Importance of learning how to be happy at work

Learning how to be happy at work allows you to enjoy your career more and showcase your qualities and attributes to your managers. It also helps you develop optimal relationships with your colleagues and improve your productivity. Prioritising happiness for your job also contributes to your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Happiness can come from the job itself, the work environment, company benefits or an internal positive attitude. You can create your own happiness by implementing several strategies into your work life.

Related: What Is Work Attitude? (Plus Tips to Stay Positive at Work)

How to be happy at work

Review the following tips to help you be happy at work:

1. Pursue a career you enjoy

Pursuing a career you enjoy may have an impact on your attitude about work. Enjoying your career allows you to get through challenging times and maintain a positive outlook on your job. Find a job that aligns with your passions and interests. You can look for job vacancies in different departments in the company you work in or find positions in other companies that excite you.

Related: Tips on How to Find Your Passion in Your Profession

2. Focus on your morning routine

Your morning routine can affect your mood for the rest of the day. Think about the tasks you want to fulfil during the day and create a plan for them. Take time to enjoy your breakfast and incorporate walks or exercises into your morning routine. These actions can boost your energy and motivate you to have a productive day at work.

3. Find purpose in your work

Evaluate your work and think about its impact on the community. For example, if you work in health care, think about how your role involves promoting the health and well-being of others. You can also find purpose in helping your colleagues by asking them if they need help with projects, buying them beverages or offering to perform simple tasks, such as writing notes during a meeting. If the company has a charity organisation they donate to, consider donating. These selfless actions can give you a sense of purpose, making you feel happier at work.

4. Acknowledge your efforts

Look at your to-do list at the end of your work day and tick everything you accomplished. Note down the tasks you attempted but didn't complete and acknowledge your efforts towards completing them. For example, if you planned on completing three assignments but did only two, recognise the progress you made and then schedule the third assignment for the next day.

If you're working on a complex project, consider dividing it into smaller components and working on those one at a time. These actions allow you to create a positive attitude about putting effort into your work rather than focusing on incomplete work.

5. Reward yourself

Use positive reinforcement to motivate yourself during your work day. For example, if you enjoy reading novels, challenge yourself to complete a task and then reward yourself by reading a chapter of a novel. You can also save for something you've always wanted, such as a new gadget or a trip. Besides increasing your happiness at work, other benefits of rewarding yourself include:

  • Reduces procrastination: Knowing the reward you want to give yourself after completing a task motivates you to keep working.

  • Improves focus: Rewards can increase your focus on your tasks and eliminate distractions.

  • Encourages regular practice: Completing tasks on your to-do list can become enjoyable, making it a standard practice in your work life.

Related: How to Create Employee Reward Systems (Including Types)

6. Incorporate creativity in your work

You can make your work more enjoyable by incorporating creativity into it, such as decorating your desk. Add plants, pictures or other objects you enjoy. Organise your desk drawer and computer desktop creatively to boost your efficiency. If you share workspaces with others, ask them to join you. You can also switch your routine to get a new perspective, for example, by walking or riding a bicycle to work instead of driving. Organise group events with colleagues that involve meals, trips and team-building exercises.

Related: How to Show Your Creativity at Work (Plus Examples)

7. Find playlists to boost your mood

Consider signing up for a streaming service and creating a music playlist to boost your mood at work. Create several playlists for different moods, so you have options depending on your current mood. Music can give you energy and improve your productivity, making you happier at work. If you prefer podcasts, you can also find podcast playlists that interest you on streaming platforms.

8. Take breaks

Take breaks during your work day to get refreshed. You can go for walks or get coffee or lunch from nearby eateries and restaurants. Use your paid leave to take breaks and go on vacations or to rest and reflect on your career and personal progress. These breaks allow you to relax and re-energise so you can be more productive at work. Consider asking your manager if you can work remotely some days of the week if you want a break from the office space but want to keep working.

9. Ask for more responsibility

Consider asking your manager for more responsibility in the office. This includes asking for more complex projects and seeking leadership roles. Having more responsibility can increase your sense of accomplishment and challenge you to improve your skills and expertise, making you happier with your job. If you're interested in seeking promotions, introduce the idea to your manager and ask them what you require to gain that promotion. Create a plan to achieve those qualifications and then ask for a promotion.

Related: How to Get Promoted at Work With These 15 Strategies

10. Request feedback

Ask your manager and colleagues to give you feedback about your job performance. Learning about ways you can improve or seeing that your colleagues and superiors value your work can make you happier at work. When asking for feedback, you can ask open-ended questions that allow you to get more detail about a specific task. For example, you can ask what more you can do to improve a project.

11. Find friends at work

Having friends at work with whom you can share your day can elevate your mood. You can support each other, share ideas, talk about challenges and take breaks with them. Build relationships with other colleagues to make the work environment harmonious. Observe your colleagues and learn how to communicate and interact with them to maintain an environment without conflict, even if you're not friends.

Related: How to Build Relationships at Work in 7 Easy Steps

12. Prioritise your health

Prioritise your physical and mental wellness to maintain a happy attitude towards your job. Consider hydrating adequately and incorporating healthy meals and snacks into your work day. Physical activity may also improve your mood. You can also meditate to improve your mental wellness.

13. Consider mentorship

Seeking a mentor allows you to receive guidance about your career. Mentors can share their experiences with you and inspire you to achieve success in your job. You can also choose to mentor and train others. These actions can give you a sense of purpose, which can give you happiness at work.

14. Maintain work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance involves separating your work and personal life, so each has its own time. This allows you to focus on non-work priorities and interests. Consider performing your work activities only during working hours so that when you're outside work, you can actively pursue other activities, such as spending time with loved ones. If you feel there are specific working hours when you're most productive, ask your manager for a flexible work schedule so you can work during that time. This balance can make you happier at work.

15. Set goals for yourself

Consider setting career goals for yourself to give you something to work towards achieving. Examples include seeking promotions, starting new projects and gaining more qualifications. These goals can give you a new perspective and encourage you to improve your productivity.

Related: Career Goals: How to Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

16. Utilise company benefits

If the company offers benefits or perks, take advantage of them. Companies offer them to make you feel valued. Examples include free meals in company cafeterias and passes to places of attractions. Use these benefits to elevate your work experience.

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