It’s been a tough old year and we’re all digging deep into those resilience reserves as we near the end of lockdown 2.0. I’m working with a really inspirational client at the moment who came to me desperately unhappy in her current role, she works in a sector that’s been hit really hard during the pandemic so feels the risks are too high to move roles. The focus was to help my client move beyond coping strategies and explore if she could make sustainable changes that would result in her feeling happier. We looked beyond resilience, wellbeing and self-care so we could really understand the fundamental factors that increase happiness at work.
I set about reading everything I could find about what makes us happy at work and what we can do as individuals and organisations to make things a little brighter. The guidance and focus these findings gave to our coaching sessions resulted in a significant improvement in how my client felt at work so I thought it might help someone else if I shared what these were.
I discovered six repeating themes and none of them involve how much you get paid.
The Big 6:
1. Variety – this one has the most influence on levels of job satisfaction. Throw some new and varied tasks into the mix and you’ll have a happier workforce.
2. Colleagues – connection, a sense of community, shared goals and values. This pesky pandemic means we all must work a bit harder on this one. Think about what steps you can take daily to improve this?
3. Working conditions – from the office environment to the organisations culture. How can you make this better? If you’re working from home, are there some small tweaks you can make? I bought myself 4 plants (which are miraculously still alive) and they lift my spirit every time I walk into my office.
4. Workload – work demands and perceived time pressure. Feeling forced to take on too much work or having too little to do can lead to boredom. Is it time to review your boundaries around workload? Do you feel able to speak out about the pressure of your workload?
5. Autonomy – owning what you do and feeling empowered to make choices over your own decisions. Being able to implement ideas and work out solutions to problems will boost your job satisfaction and self-esteem.
6. Learning – does your role allow you to grow, learn and develop. How can you take responsibility for your own learning if it's absent in your organisation?
Be intentional about taking steps to be happier at work, just like exercising or eating healthily sometimes it takes practice. Focus on what you can control and dial those factors up. It’s tough out there so be kind to yourself and if you need additional support, I’m available for one to one coaching sessions or alternatively go and have a virtual cup of tea and a chat with a good friend.
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