Practical Ways to Find Happiness at Work

Being happy at work is important. Studies suggest that if you’re not happy at work, you’re less productive, more likely to take days off sick, and less creative too. It is therefore very important for any organisation that its employees find happiness at work.

Why does happiness matter?

Professor Alex Edmans of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania discovered that businesses with high levels of employee satisfaction perform better than those without. Research from the University of Warwick says happiness makes people 12 percent more productive.

Engagement is one of the key indicators of happiness in the workplace and a 2015 Gallup study found that only 32% of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. The majority (50.8%) of employees were “not engaged,” while another 17.2% were “actively disengaged.”

Happy employees are more also resilient and are more likely to stay with their employers for the long term.

And it also turns out that the cost of turning a blind to it is quite high for organisations. The Engagement Institute — a collaboration of The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and Consulting LLP — recently released a study of 1,500 respondents showing that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.

What makes employees happy?

Many factors together contribute to employee satisfaction and happiness. According to a survey by The Energy Project in collaboration with Harvard Business Review, employees are most satisfied and productive when their four core needs (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) are met.

The good news is that satisfying just one need of the four can go a long in getting your employees to find happiness at work. Just remember people’s ideas on happiness will vary greatly, so it is very essential to clearly communicate with your employees and incorporate their wants and needs in the work culture.

Motivate your employees to work because it makes them happy. Then stand back and watch productivity and overall company performance improve while they find happiness at work.

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Practical Ways to find happiness at work

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Ways to find happiness at work

Here are 17 popular ways to find happiness at work.

Choose to be happy at work

Happiness is largely a choice. Dwell on the aspects of your work you like. Find coworkers you like and enjoy and spend your time with them. Your choices at work can help you find happiness at work.

Make only commitments you can keep

One of the most serious causes of unhappiness at work is failing to keep commitments, especially from impulsive volunteering, and worrying about the consequences of not keeping them as promised.

Avoid negativity

Choosing to be happy at work means actively avoiding negative conversations, gossip, and unhappy people as much as possible. No matter how positively you feel, negative will affect your psyche.

Embrace conflict

Most people avoid conflict because they have been trained to participate in meaningful conflict. Done well, conflict can help you accomplish both your work and personal goals. Make conflict your friend.

Make friends

Liking and enjoying your co-workers are one of the keys to find happiness at work. Take time to get to know them. You might actually like and enjoy them and build a supportive network for yourself.

Don’t work through lunch

Always take lunch time off to grab a bite and give yourself a mental break. If you don’t, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to perform at your best, you won’t find happiness at work.

Decorate your workspace

This can help make your space your own and help it feel relaxing. Surrounding yourself with items that make you happy, you will feel better every day and help incentivise your productivity.

Plan an office event

Get your co-workers together and organise an office event, be it theme casual Fridays or an intra-organisation soccer league having a designated “unwind” time and find happiness at work.

Get enough sleep

Being well-rested allows you to focus and think better so you spend less time zoned out and more time engaged. Grumpiness is less of an issue when you have had those solid eight hours of sleep.

Encourage others to be happy

Making your organisation a happy place to go to work is essential to achieving long-term success.

Be happy yourself

If you don’t know how to make yourself happy, it will be very difficult to help the people you manage to be happier. You have to find what makes you happy at work and try to do more of it.

Recognise people for their work

People want to see that their hard work is making a difference in people’s lives. They want know that at the end of their day that their hard work mattered. Recognise their hard work whenever you can.

Make time for your people

Are you taking the time to listen to your team’s problems and helping them come up with solutions? Every leader needs to make time for their people. They will be more loyal and engaged at work.

Methods to improve happiness at work

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Help them enjoy their work

You need to let your employees know about the perks that they might not be using. Make them aware of the breaks that they can take because it will help them reduce stress and find happiness at work.

Listen to their emotions

People often complain just so they will be heard. They don’t necessarily want solutions; they just want empathy. Allow them to vent. If they ask for a solution then you can try to find one together, but most of the time they just need an emotional boost, rather than a fix to their problem.

Encourage friendships

People need to have friends at work. A manager should encourage his or her staff to hang out with each other. The more people hang out with each other, the more likely they are to find happiness at work

Know your people

You must know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. You must spend time with your employees in order to understand them. Do you know what they do in their spare time? What type of food do they like? The more you know about the people you manage, the easier it will be to lead them.


On average, people spend 8.8 hours each day working, a huge section of their lives. Businesses need to prioritise bringing fulfillment and happiness to employees.

More money does not directly correlate with long-term happiness so managers must do more to help employees find happiness at work.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.