We have an acronym and a restaurant chain describing the thanks we have when Friday rolls around. We have a type of blue feeling when it’s time to start work back up on a Monday. Apparently, we put a lot of energy into thinking about work and how it makes us feel. So today, we offer some “job advice” in the form of three things that won’t make us happier at work, and three things that will.
Three Things That Won’t Make You Much Happier at Work
A Shorter Workweek
- Why you think it will make you happier at work: In recent research that LearnVest did, a full two-thirds of respondents said they’d prefer a four-day workweek. Spending less time at work means having more time to devote to the activities that really make you happy.
- Why it doesn’t always work: A recent study in the Journal of Happiness Science reported on an experiment that occurred when South Korea reduced its workweek from 44 hours per week to 40 hours a week. The result: Worker hours decreased by about 10 percent, but self-reported job satisfaction and life satisfaction didn’t budge.
More Vacation Time
- Why you think it will make you happier at work: You already cherish your time off, so having more of it will make you happier with your job.
- Why it doesn’t always work: According to vacation data from CEPR and the human resources company Mercer, as well as a worker satisfaction survey from Randstad, interviewed 400 workers between the ages of 18 and 65 in each of 27 countries, and found very little correlation between mandatory vacation time and a country’s overall worker satisfaction.
A Higher Salary
- Why you think it will make you happier at work: Earning more money allows you more freedom to purchase the things you want, and provide a self-esteem boost, right?
- Why it doesn’t always work: New research from career site Glassdoor suggests that more money can make employees more satisfied with their jobs—but not as much as other workplace factors. A higher salary only makes employees a little bit Data analysis revealed that a 10 percent increase in pay translated into one percent increase in employee satisfaction.
Three Things (Backed by Science) That Will Make You Happier at Work
Bringing Your Personal Baggage to Work
Keep your home life struggles at home. You are here to do a juob, so do it. We don’t want to know the energy and time you are expending outside the workplace. We often don’t know much about our co-workers and what they’re personally going through.
Researchers are realizing that separating professional and personal lives is a poor model. It minimizes workers in a way that makes it more difficult for them to be happy, to feel valuable, connected, trusted and cared-for at work. Reversing this practice may promote compassion, happiness, trust, and social connections.
Stop Competing with Co-Workers
Work is often framed as being something you earn. It’s very competitive and people get jealous and harbor resentment. Workplace competition is often counter to cooperation.
This mentality doesn’t lend itself to happiness, nor to the type of achievement that stems from the cooperation of a team.
Instead, don’t act like rivals. Help each other. Create a culture of happiness and cooperation.
Be Nice, Be Respectful
Be nice. Very simple. It’s one of the most measurably effective things you can do to increase happiness at work. Researchers revealed this in a recent nursing industry organizational trust study and intervention.
The Bottom Line
The three things that do not necessarily lead to happiness at work concern the desire to receive more things from your employer. Happiness may not lie in the fulfillment of these desires. It looks as if happiness is more focused on the way we interact with our co-workers at work.
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