5 ways to be happy at work (and avoid the neg heads)

According to the London School of Business & Finance, almost half (47%) of UK workers want to change jobs. For millennials the figure is even higher, with as many as 67% of those currently aged between 20-35 very much open to the idea of quitting their jobs. But why is work not quite working out for so many people?

Here we take a look at five ways you can boost your happiness levels at work, without the need to hand in your notice.

1 Figure out why you’re not happy at work

Sounds straight forward enough, but it is easier said than done. We all tend to take a knee-jerk reaction when things aren’t quite going the way we would like them to be but quitting your job may not be the right solution.

According to Journal of Applied Psychology, simply moving from one job to another does little or nothing to make you happier at work. Yes there is an initial period of excitement and enthusiasm for your new role, but if the underlying issue of why you were unhappy in your previous role hasn’t been addressed, those feelings will eventually return.

2 Have friends at work

Research has also found that having colleagues who are also friends at work is a key predictor to long-term job happiness. Speaking to The Guardian, Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research and author of Broadcasting Happiness, said: “You don’t need a ton of friends and close work colleagues; just a handful of meaningful relationships to reap the benefits.”

3 Have clearly defined goals

We are at that time of year when many of us are already counting down the number of days before Santa (he DOES still exist!) climbs down the chimney to leave our presents under the tree. The same sense of goal setting should be applied to your job too.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychologist and author of The How of Happiness, says that focusing on a goal creates a sense of structure whereby we know what we need to do and when we need to do it by.

She says that this simple act adds meaning and “helps us attain a sense of purpose, feelings of efficacy over our progress and mastery over our time. All these things make people happy.”

4 Avoid the office neg-heads!

Every office has one or two people who seemingly go out of their way to complain about their colleagues or criticise just about everything associated with their work. However, given the fact that we more of our waking hours each week performing a work related task than anything else, it can seem impossible to escape being sucked in by these people. But escape you must.

Failing to act will see you run the risk of becoming socially isolated at work, which will cause further unhappiness, so do not allow yourself to be drawn into their sphere of negativity. Keep your own attitude in check by focusing on the things that make you happy at work and only surround yourself with those who – like you – actually enjoy doing what they do.

5 Give a little love

As a nation we’re not always the best at celebrating someone else’s success, not like our American cousins. If you see a colleague doing something great, tell them and see what reaction it generates. People naturally gravitate to those who make them feel good about themselves and this in turn increases your satisfaction levels too.

But don’t just recognise the positives in others, try to help those who may be struggling or are difficult to deal with. Take time to focus on the strengths of the person who is being negative or in need of help and think objectively of how they could add value to a project you are working on.

By doing this you demonstrate your professional respect for your colleague as well as your commitment to achieving the best outcome for the project to hand. But you are also diffusing a potential conflict between you and that, by default, creates a healthier and happier working environment.