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Happiness at Work – 12 Simple Ways to Make it Happen!

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Happiness at Work – 12 Simple Ways to Make it Happen!
Happiness at work - we can all have it!

If you are a relatively junior employee at your company, though you carry out a very important role, you may not always be recognised. You might also face some of the following challenges:

  • Little fulfilment at work
  • Long working hours
  • Conflicting demands on your time and loyalty
  • Little balance between personal life and work commitments
  • Tight deadlines
  • Time management pressures
  • Strained relationships with the important people in your life
  • Tight personal finances
  • Lack of any say at work
  • Internal politics and a rigid company structure
  • Bullying within the workplace
  • Few promotional opportunities

You are therefore faced with a number of dilemmas in your workplace.

On the one hand you want to be involved in rewarding, enjoyable and fulfilling work, get recognition and promotion for your efforts, and be appreciated for the key role you play in the company.

On the other hand you want a balanced life with time for the things you really want to do with a full and interesting social life. Of course you want to have clarity about your career, job duties and you want to continue to be healthy, fit and stress free.

So what’s the best way forward?! How can you too achieve a zen like happiness at work?

One key to resolving these seemingly conflicting challenges is to get clear about just how much you love the work you do. Is what you do something you jump out of bed every morning, or would you rather be doing something else?

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How motivated are you with your work? And how do you cope with the day to day routine office work?

A UK survey last year found that almost 2 out of 3 people are dissatisfied with their jobs. And I am sure there is a similar situation in the USA and other parts of the developed world. This means that they are either apathetic about finding what they really love doing or they are resigned to being in this situation.

No matter how good things are in other parts of your life such as family, social life and relationships, work is a major part of your life, and not to be neglected.

Since for now you have chosen to be in the job you are in, it is up to you for the time being to make the most of what you do. Of course in the long term, you can either change your job or even embark on a new career. But for now, you can get to love more of what you do right now.

Assuming that in the short term you are not able to change jobs, there are a number of things you can do to begin enjoying more of what you currently do. Ask yourself – is it the job or is it you? And what can you do to make your current work more enjoyable?

Stop acting the victim. YOU are responsible for your life and if you can’t immediately change the job you are in, then it is up to you to make the most of it.

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Here are some simple tips for getting to enjoy your current job.

1. On the way to your workplace, get yourself motivated to face the day. Think of how the work you have allows you to have your life outside of it, such as a great social life. A positive attitude will make the day more pleasant and productive.

2. Keep your work in perspective. You can only do the best you can in each situation. Look beyond yourself and your work, and consider the bigger picture. Do some voluntary work to gain a broader outlook. Find a way to contribute to society in general.

3. Remember that you are more than your work. Do not have your identity too strongly tied to the job you do. Give up thinking that your work life “should” be a certain way. Such expectations of what you were supposed to be, as set by your parents and teachers, stop you from enjoying what you currently do.

4. Plan your time. In your to-do list include long term projects as well as the more imminent things that need doing. Prioritise your to-do list – do the most important things first. When performing any task, ask yourself – is this the best use of my time? Schedule in enough time for your studies etc.

5. Concentrate on the task at hand. Do not let yourself be distracted by worrying about all the other things to be done or losing energy over the undesirable situation you find yourself in. Stay in the moment.

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Be ruthless and take care of a task before it gets on a possible procrastination list. For example, sort your morning post immediately in one go – open it, file it, act on it or bin it there and then.

6. Clarify anytime you are not sure or where you are faced with conflicting demands. The more clear and upfront you are with your manager and the other people you work with, the better it will be for you in the long term.

7. Delegate wherever appropriate. Decide if there is anything that can be delegated, or that more fairly belongs to someone else’s work load. Always remember the “3D” rule – do it, dump it or delegate it – never handle a piece of paper twice.

8. Have regular breaks. Get away from your normal workplace even if only for five minutes. Try taking a break from the laptop, emails and do leave the mobile behind. Make sure that you do have that lunch break – it is not just for food but also for fresh air and a mental break.

Eat a healthy lunch and if you must snack, make sure it is healthy too – an apple rather than a bag of chips. Look for ways of energising yourself other than from adrenaline and caffeine.

9. Learn to relax no matter how challenging the work gets or how demanding your bosses become. At the end of the day it is only a job, and you are much more than that. In years to come, you will look back and wonder what the fuss was.

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10. Contribute towards creating a pleasant work environment. Do not gossip in the office as it just creates negativity all around. Do not listen to any gossip either. Minimise your time with people that you do not resonate with or like.

Learn to have more fun at work. Laugh more and chill out. Perform with a more fun orientated approach.

11. Review your day before you leave for home. Look at what worked well, and what could be improved the next day. If you feel satisfied with the day’s work, then why not reward yourself later that day. You deserve it.

12. Switch off once you leave work. You are already at work a third of your time, so do not continue to keep it buzzing in your head during your supposed free time. Mentally say good bye to your work space the moment you leave for home.

See your work as a game. Life is meant to be fun and if you are going to spend a third of it at work, you might as well enjoy the game.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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