How to find joy at work

Finding joy at work doesn’t have to be a dream. Sneha Choudhry suggests ways in which you can enjoy your job to the fullest...

Having happy employees and a congenial work atmosphere often goes beyond the tangibles like salaries, perks, KRAs, etc.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, writes about a 2001 study in which researchers found that a few janitors at hospitals seemed happier than others, simply because they felt connected with something deeper in their otherwise mundane work. “Some members of the janitorial staff saw their jobs not as just tidying up but as a form of healing,” Duhigg explained. “If you see your job as healing the sick, rather than just swabbing up messes, you’re likely to have a deeper sense of purpose whenever you grab the mop.”

Having happy employees and a congenial work atmosphere often goes beyond the tangibles like salaries, perks, KRAs, etc. Employers have become more conscious of the need for putting in measures to help create happy employees and a positive work environment. A few useful initiatives may include:

Appreciation and recognition: Awards are useful to recognise exceptional talents and performers. This sense of achievement and recognition for the winners not only creates healthy competition among co-workers but also helps in setting up benchmarks for others to strive towards.

Mentoring & feedback: Weekly feedback sessions can be conducted for the employees to provide developmental support, such as training opportunities and career mentoring. These also act as channels for collecting feedback from employees about their workplace and suggestions to make it better.

Team bonding events: Team building is important in making employees feel connected to the company and activities such as off-sites, movie screenings and pizza parties help in this. These events create spaces where employees can easily communicate and share ideas.

Work-life continuum: Flexible working hours improves autonomy and helps prioritise social time. Studies have found that flexible working hours lead to less stress, better mental health, better physical health, and improved sleep patterns.

On a personal note, you can follow these five simple mantras to find happiness at your workplace:

Identify and nurture a long-term purpose: Aligning your personal goals with the job you are doing creates a virtuous cycle in which the energy and joy you get from achieving a personal goal will feed into your job and vice versa.

Develop your informal circle: It is much easier to be unhappy at the office if you do not interact socially with your co-workers. So, make an effort to reach out to your colleagues and be curious about their lives. Nobody has ever made friends without one of them starting a conversation.

Always look for avenues to grow: Instead of being sceptical about new ideas, grab opportunities for new projects and responsibilities. Find things that challenge you and help you test your limits. Not only will you look forward to doing something new every day, but you will also learn and grow tremendously in the process.

Speak up for change to happen: Instead of expecting someone else to stand up for you, make that move and ask for change. You might be surprised to find how easy it is to get what you want when you ask for it.

Being mindful: Mindfulness can be a starting point for revising your habits at work. It may help improve your ability to handle, adapt to, and productively learn from setbacks, failures and disappointments. You will be able to manage challenges with authenticity and grace, making you happier in the process.

So, go ahead. If there is a project you know that will make your life more meaningful, make time for it. Be proactive and cast aside your self-doubt to go after what truly makes you happy.

(The author is chief business officer, Zolo)

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