5 hacks for being happier at work

“Happiness is an attitude. we either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” ― Francesca Reigler

5 Hacks for being happier at work

Sourcing Business Partner

Sourcing Business Partner

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‘Happiness’ is a very common word but still earnestly sought after by many. It is a state of mind marked by a feeling or expression of pleasure inwardly or on the outside. Happiness willy-nilly manifests. Even trees and lower animals often can’t conceal their own moments of high spirits. Indeed, not a few crave to be the happiest people in their daily lives, more especially in their places of work. Such disposition may evoke certain questions: ‘Happiest people’? ‘What does happiness at work have to do with anything?’

In my view, happiness in the workplace connotes many things put together: enjoying the work that we do, recognising that our work is significant and counts; feeling respected and treasured; felicity working with our colleagues and customers; a dose of motivation to exceed expectations of our immediate tasks; and so on. While there is a lot of discourse on what organisations can do to ensure workplace happiness, I believe that happiness is intrinsic to the individual, has to be intentional, and an attitude that requires practice. And what’s more, my recent election as the Chief of Happiness Officer (responsible for promoting workplace happiness) of my unit also reinforced my cursory exploration on this subject. 😊!

Therefore, here are five tips gleaned from my exploration on the topic and how they impact happiness in the workplace.

  1. Choose happiness: As pedestrian as this sounds, it really is the first, if not the most important, step towards pursuing workplace happiness. The quest for happiness is individual and should be deliberate. While not all activities/encounters in the workplace may necessarily emerge as pleasant, the hack is to focus on the positives and then imbibe the lessons from the negatives. It helps to have a ‘grateful’ mindset. One of the initiatives for happiness I’ve developed for my unit is #ThankfulThursday! Every Thursday each member of the team shares on our dedicated WhatsApp chat group, whatever they are thankful for in the week. So, everyone has a chance to reflect on the week’s points and stay consciously that “being happy does not mean you have it all, it simply means you are thankful for what you have” – unknown.

  2. Recognise the value of your work: Sometimes there is tendency to feel like a small fish in a big pond, especially while working for a large organisation. However, every single employee’s role – even the non-administrative task – is substantial for the overall success of the company. Writers on this topic suggest that we connect with the purpose of our role; the impact it has on the company; and, further, the ultimate influence of the company on the world at large. For example, an employee handling supplier invoices in a large telecommunications company like Ericsson needs not perceive their role as merely ‘administrative’. However, consciously working to ensure efficient payment of vendors’ bills in turn enables the suppliers deliver quality services towards fulfilling Ericsson’s purpose (“to empower an intelligent, sustainable and connected world”). The employee seeing the big picture and being a factor in driving the organisation’s vision engenders personal fulfillment.

  3. Work-life balance: This seems to be a popular term in many organisation but very important. Work-life balance may indeed mean different things to different people. It ranges from, and may be a combination of, physical exercises, meditations, volunteering, family times, rests/relaxations, spirituality, self-time, reading books, and so on. Work-life balance seeks to enable employees have a life outside of work, which keeps them fulfilled, motivated and recharged every time. Employees that practice work-life balance tend to be happier and more productive at work.

  4. Personal professional development: With all humility, having recently completed my professional certification with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) United Kingdom), I can pass for a living testament to this tip. Becoming a chartered procurement and supply professional has buoyed my sense of personal fulfilment with enhanced bearing on my happiness quotient on the job. Many organisations, like Ericsson, provide several trainings both online and instructor-led, to boost our professional development and careers. The responsibility however lies on the individual to set and pursue personal development goals. So, dare to dream – even in the pursuit of workplace happiness.

  5. Keep an open mind: Having an open mind aids an objective view devoid of misconceptions. Employees with open minds -- letting in new ideas and beliefs – are able to comprehend and appreciate that some seemingly unfavourable review may not necessarily constitute a personal attack after all. It’s often a helpful feedback to guide our work and conduct, and facilitate our happiness. Our individual backgrounds in certain strong values and beliefs remain an ideal, but a bundle of benefits is derivable from open mindedness to nurture and secure our happiness on the job.

In a nutshell, given that we spend a significant proportion of daily lives at work, it is important that we feel happy where we are. The open secret is that the happier we feel, the more motivated and productive we ultimately become. That in turn translates to greater all-round success – more profitability for the company and higher fulfillment for the individual. Therefore, believe, be intentional, cultivate and stay happier at work – even for our personal wellbeing.

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