For the great majority of us, most of our days are spent trudging off, and being at a place we call work. We do this 5 out of 7 days of the week, and 48 out of 52 weeks in the year. Both the content and context of our work can vary so widely. Some of us work from small businesses in rural sheds, others are out on the ships at sea, while others roam the never ending floors of urban skyscrapers. We are all called to do different kinds of work too, from working with our minds to working with our bodies, helping balance the books to helping balance peoples lives, from building and creating, to cleaning and tearing things down.
Despite the differences, we share one in thing in common. While we are at work we are called to expend two of our greatest assets – our time and energy – helping to achieve goals and outcomes which likely have been set by some distant others.
There are some times and places where giving freely of this effort comes easily, where the managers, colleagues and work environment make it a pleasure to be at work, and people are proud to do what is asked of them. Unfortunately though there are many work places that are (at the extreme) so grim that people dread going to work, or which are just personally and professionally disappointing. I find this so sad, for I believe that work, just like life, should be filled with inspiration and joy.
In my encounters with people operating in these negative work environments, I hear many lamenting over their “bad” managers. They believe the managers should be doing more or different things to make things better.
Well, yes they should. But I truly believe that each one of us, as members of a work community have both the right and responsibility to make a difference. It is up to us to make changes to ourselves that will help us be more happy at work, and help change the environment to help others be happier too.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” Ghandi.
“It is impossible” I hear you say. And yes, well it may be. But it is worth a try.
The purpose of this blog is to provide the research, the tools and examples to show how to be happy at work. Most of the literature out there is targeted at managers and tells them what they should do to make their employees more productive. In this blog I am turning this research around, and looking at it from the employees perspective. I hope that this information can be used to help people:
- Understand just what it means to be happy at work – while this will be a little different for each person, there are common things that make us all feel good
- Pinpoint what is so great, or just not right with their current workplace – it is hard to fix it until you identify the problem
- Identify things they can do to improve their level of happiness at work – on an individual, team and organisation level
- Know what to look for in future workplaces – if all else fails and the changes you are trying to make are not supported, then this information will let you know the kind of management behaviours that are needed to help you shine.
You know the great thing with starting with ourselves, is that just like a smile, our own happiness is contagious. Improving our well-being has a direct effect on the happiness of those around us. We can start a ripple of positive change that turns into a wave. All it takes is the courage to try.
I hope that this blog may provide the inspiration that helps make your workplace a happier one!