Best Secrets For Happiness At Work will be discussed in this article. Workplace happiness is not insurmountable. Empirical studies support the eight practices that lead to happier work environments and caution against the vices of happiness.
Top 8 Secrets For Happiness At Work In 2024
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Workplace happiness is not insurmountable. Empirical studies support the eight practices that lead to happier work environments and caution against the vices of happiness. Because I think that work will be happier in the future, I founded FlexOS. I’m a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, a writer and host of “Future Work,” and I’ve been featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.
How to Define Happiness at Work
A lot of people aspire to work and live happy lives.
However, what exactly is happiness?
Numerous definitions exist, but this one by happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky is particularly appealing to me: “Happiness is the experience of joy, contentment, or the positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
What exactly does happiness at work entail?
In response to the query, “What is happiness at work?” we can state the following if we include the workplace in the definition above:
“Workplace happiness is the experience of the joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined sense that one’s (work) life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
According to researcher Nesreen Awada, motivation from coworkers, self-discovery, spirituality, and finding meaning in work are all strongly associated with happiness in the workplace.
There are four essential elements to happiness at work, according to best-selling happiness expert Tracy Brower, who spoke with me.
- Dedication: a sense of commitment
- Immersion: labor when the hours fly by
- Energy: how do I get inspired to put energy into my work and how can I get energized from it?
- Mattering: my job is significant and meaningful.
As you can see, a good deal of stuff takes place “now.”
Shawn Achor, a best-selling author, questions the common wisdom that says we should strive for happiness in the future.
In contrast, he argues in his widely shared TED Talk about Happiness at Work that in order to achieve even greater success down the road, we need practice being happy at work right now.
The Science of Happiness at Work
It turns out there is a lot of science behind having a happier life, even though it may appear like an art to accomplish a good (work) life.
I stumbled discovered the wonderful Happiness, the Science of Well-Being course taught by Yale Professor Laurie Santos years ago. It has over 4 million students enrolled. She discusses what makes us happy and offers research-based advice on how to live a happier life in her course.
Laurie makes a strong point on how difficult it is for any of us to identify what makes us happy.
Let’s say you inquire about what will bring folks joy. In those situations, the solution is typically something like a raise in pay or a promotion, as well as things like purchasing new items, getting hitched, or improving one’s appearance.
These items don’t make us joyful, as the evidence consistently demonstrates. We overestimate the happiness some of these “achievements” will bring us, which is why we’re so lousy at forecasting what will make us happy. (Spoiler alert: they can bring us joy, but only momentarily.) We are not sure what we want, which is referred to as miswanting in science.
Happiness at Work: It’s relative
Let’s examine money as a possible means of achieving happiness. More money is spent on lottery tickets annually in the US than on video games, books, music, movies, sports, and theater tickets put together.
Lottery winners are not, however, any happier than others. They are ecstatic to hear the news at first, but eventually they start to feel the same. (The reverse is also true: accident victims recovered from their ordeal and were not as miserable as they had anticipated.)
The same thing occurs if you receive a pay raise or promotion. You are happy and proud of yourself for your achievement, at least temporarily. However, after about a month, your new job title and pay become “normal,” and your degree of contentment returns to its baseline.
Happiness is relative, therefore achieving more wealth, prestige, or whatever else we usually strive for doesn’t make us happy over time.
The Hedonic Treadmill
The aforementioned idea is referred to as the “hedonic treadmill.”
Hedonism is the word for something that may seem brief but feels excellent. If we keep chasing a promotion or pay increase (hedonic joys), we could forget to appreciate the present moment, just like when we’re on a real treadmill where there’s no end in sight.
Furthermore, if we believe that achieving that objective will make us happy, we won’t be happy when we do. After that promotion, we might ask, “Is that it?” after a month. We then bolt for the next one.
Although we are aware that these items don’t actually provide us true happiness, we frequently persist in pursuing our desires despite knowing that they won’t. The phrase “knowing-doing gap” refers to the fact that knowledge does not always translate into action. (My own life is a prime illustration.)
Eight Ways to Achieve Happiness at Work
I referenced Paul Graham in my earlier post regarding employee engagement and motivation. The majority of people, he wrote in his well-known essay “How to Do What You Love,” “work and fun are opposites by definition.”
You work to earn money, which you then utilize to fulfill your desires. But we’re squandering a significant portion of our lives if we don’t appreciate our employment. Why would we do that? I’ve stepped up my attempts to be happier at work because of this. These eight tactics are the results of years of research on workplace happiness.
1. Have a Purpose
“Purpose” refers to having a long-term, highly desired objective that you aim to pursue. Researchers Amy Wrzesniewski of Yale University and Jane Dutton of the University of Michigan discovered that a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s work increases job satisfaction and enhances overall wellbeing. If that wasn’t enough, you might also be pleased to learn that having a purpose improves your social skills, health, happiness, and agreeability.
Although it may appear simple, setting goals for work is more difficult. According to Shawn Achor, while short-term, easy goals are doable, going after long-term goals like a promotion or raise in pay may not always result in true satisfaction. It can be difficult to reach a significant, long-term objective that inspires and propels you at work. You should focus on your Ikigai in order to identify such a goal.
In Japanese, the term “ikigai” means “the reason for being.” It is the meeting point of four essential components:
- what you find appealing.
- What you excel in.
- what the globe requires.
- What you are compensated for.
Because it combines your talents and hobbies with what the world values, discovering your Ikigai can lead to a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. Here are comprehensive instructions on where to look for your Ikigai.
2. Set Achievable Intrinsic Goals
Achievement is represented by the “A” in Martin Seligman’s PERMA, the most well-known model of happiness. A sense of success is the result of mastering a task, working toward and achieving goals, and having the drive to see those goals through to completion. Reaching objectives makes you feel happy because you may look back on your life with pride.
Setting more immediately feasible goals and experiencing a sense of accomplishment is crucial, in addition to having a big (job) life goal.
Small triumphs can have a significant impact on your job satisfaction, whether they involve helping a colleague, meeting a goal, finishing a project on time, or enrolling in a course that will help you advance in your career.
A 2002 study by Locke and Latham found that goal-setting affects motivation and feelings of well-being. It’s crucial to keep in mind that you should select objectives that complement your values and professional ambitions. You should also aim for goals that provide internal motivation as opposed to external ones like money, status, and promotions.
You can further enhance your pleasure and contentment at work by working toward something worthwhile and fulfilling in this way.
Honoring your achievements is a crucial first step. It provides your brain with a strong signal that you have accomplished something important and aids in reinforcing the happy feelings connected to the accomplishment.
A celebration can inspire you to keep working toward your objectives and set new, higher ones down the road.
3. Find a Friend at Work
Having good relationships at work can increase your enjoyment of your job and improve your overall wellbeing. The idea that having a best buddy at work is essential for job satisfaction is supported by recent Gallup data, which indicates that this is especially true in light of the pandemic.
Benefits from having a work friend include increased job satisfaction, emotional support, and enhanced workplace performance due to improved teamwork and communication.
The concept of a best buddy at work is consistent with a finding from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the largest study on happiness. Even longer lives are experienced by those who have loving relationships and a strong sense of community. Furthermore, people who feel closest to their coworkers are also more engaged.
According to MIT, loneliness—including loneliness from working from home—is a bigger problem than it has ever been. Our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode when we feel alone, which increases stress and inflammation.
This is the reason we strongly support fostering relationships at work, even if it just involves posing a few easy icebreaker questions ahead of time.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
The famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s cliched, but for good reason—it’s true!
It might be depressing and frustrating to feel like you don’t measure up when you compare yourself to other people all the time. Sadness, irritation, and feelings of inadequacy may result from this.
You also lose out on the positive aspects of your own life when you concentrate on what other people have that you don’t. You may have the feeling that you’ll never measure up to others or that you’ll never succeed to the same extent.
CEOs and other high achievers are not immune to loneliness and unhappiness. Remember that happiness comes from a variety of sources, not just accomplishments and success. It’s important to prioritize developing positive relationships, finding purpose in our work, and trying new things. Also check App lock Mobile Application
5. Take Control
At work, feeling in charge and independent boosts happiness and lowers stress. Individuals who have greater freedom to pursue their passions and have a say in how they operate are noticeably happier than those who do not. In real life, this could entail choosing your priorities, managing some of your projects, and determining where and when to work (hello, remote and hybrid work!).
Possessing a sense of control over your professional life will boost your sense of fulfillment and engagement at work, which will lower stress and increase happiness.
This does not imply total command over every facet of your professional life. It entails feeling like you have some say in how things are done and having some control over the major factors that affect your work experience.
The belief that one can control circumstances is a characteristic that characterizes cheerful people. Reevaluate circumstances you believe are beyond your control and take charge of them. As it happens, you can in most cases.
Being in charge gives you a sense of empowerment and motivation, which enhances your general happiness and wellbeing at work.
6. Practice Positive Emotions
Embracing joy in the workplace offers several advantages. Highlighting the positive aspects of our professional lives can improve motivation, contentment, and even the bonds you have with your colleagues.
You can work on your happy feelings by:
- promoting optimism
- Adding extra smiles
In line with Barbara Fredrickson’s “Broaden-and-Build,” happy feelings reinforce each other!
According to this theory, experiencing pleasant emotions has two effects: one is broadening, which encourages you to take on new tasks with curiosity and inventiveness, and the other is building, which fortifies personal resources including social relationships, physical health, and psychological resilience.
Try concentrating on your pleasant and optimistic aspects the next time you’re feeling anxious or depressed. It can be a colleague who consistently makes you laugh or a project you’re enthusiastic about. Please give it some thought and let those happy feelings to flow, whatever it may be.
7. Find Moments of Flow.
When was the last time you were engrossed in your work for so long that time just seemed to pass? Flow is this idea, and it’s essential to feel happier.
The term “flow,” invented by researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, appears in the “E” (for Engagement) of the PERMA model and is the result of finding the ideal balance between difficulty and skill.
Our special talents are completely developed and expanded in Flow, but not to the point where we feel overburdened or irritated. This mix of difficulty and aptitude can produce an immensely fulfilling sensation of mastery and achievement.
Create more time blocks (several hours) to gradually become more absorbed in your task in order to enter the “Flow State.” Turn off all notifications and WiFi to make sure you won’t be disturbed by anyone or anything during this period. Finding something you are skilled at and enthusiastic about might also help you get into a flow state more quickly. You can have more contentment and fulfillment in both your career and personal life by establishing the right conditions for flow.
8. Draw the Line
Overall wellbeing and job satisfaction depend on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The World Health Organization’s research indicates that individuals who find it difficult to the maintain work-life balance often become burned out and stressed, which has a detrimental effect on their happiness and health. The constant state of work and the blurring of boundaries between work and life can have a negative impact on well-being, particularly in hybrid and remote work environments.
Consequently, 36% of workers reported a worsening in mental health and 52% of employees felt that their burden had increased. Microsoft research from 2023 reveals that we feel incredibly overwhelmed by communication, particularly when it’s continual. Also check App Like Duolingo
It’s critical to prioritize self-care activities and manage your workload to counteract these negative impacts. Establish boundaries between your personal & the professional lives and schedule time for things that improve your physical and emotional health, such as mindfulness, exercise, and spending time with loved ones. Make sure to notify your employer when conditions become untenable. Nothing is more important than your bodily and mental well-being; enough is enough.
PLUS: Optimism, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Sleep
Being happy is influenced by several interconnected factors.
In order to recognize that taking care of oneself is crucial to living and working happier, the PERMA model has included a PLUS. Among them are:
- Optimism (building up your muscle of happiness)
- Nutrition (a healthy diet improves your mood)
- Exercise (which, in a similar vein, can enhance mental health)
- Sleep (makes it easier to handle negative things)
Why would I care about happiness?
Wishing to be happy may seem natural. But what if everything seems like a lot of work?
There are, after all, valid reasons to work toward happiness. According to study, those that are joyful have:
- greater earnings
- increased output
- improved caliber of the job
- longer and more fulfilling relationships
- more companions
- increased social support
- deeper social exchanges
- greater vigor
- improved physical well-being
- and even longer lifespans.
- increased originality
- more giving and supportive
- greater assurance in oneself
- enhanced self-control
Why would my company care?
I was in Bangkok last year on a Saturday afternoon and talked about the Future of Work with the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum.
Khun Nala Jiratornsirikul, Peoples Manager at Alpha Ventures DAO, said in a great fireside talk that striking a balance between the requirements of the company and its employees is one of her main responsibilities.
Happier people do better, in my opinion, and that is a real win-win situation. However, the following statistics can persuade your employer:
- Employees who are happier are 12% more productive than those who are unhappy, and the difference is 10% below average.
- Reduced sick leave: Stress-related issues account for 75–90% of primary care physician visits.
- Content team members are 58% more inclined to go above and above to support their teammates, which results in a 23% boost in teamwork.
There is significant overlap between employee and company preferences. In their paper “Rethink Your Employee Value Proposition,” Mark Mortensen from INSEAD and Amy C. Edmondson from the Harvard Business School effectively encapsulated this.
Purpose, meaning, accomplishment, education, development, and interacting with wonderful people are what bring us happiness.
All of them are qualities that a business can provide with a strong, employee-focused culture. About the employer side of happier employment, I would be delighted to write another piece!
To conclude: A Happier Workplace
The goal of achieving happiness at work is based on scientific principles rather than being merely a personal preference. The science of happiness at work shows that the conventional measures of success, including pay raises and promotions, only give us short-term improvements in our happiness.
According to the hedonic treadmill theory, contentment that lasts stems from within and is fueled by things like control, meaningful relationships, and a sense of purpose.
The eight behaviors I started putting into practice to make me happier at work have been really beneficial. All I can say is that you should get one or more.