It’s that time of year again, the 14th February, or in other words… Valentine’s Day. A day that celebrates love. Whether you’re jumping at the chance to surprise someone with chocolates, or cursing all the loved up couples whilst crying alone into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, nobody can deny that celebrating love is something simple and sweet.
But why should February 14th be restricted to those in the thralls of romantic bliss?
Whatever our plans are this evening, it’s likely that on this Tuesday we’ll be stuck at work until they happen. In fact, the average person will spend around one third of their life working. What’s more, the annual Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For awards are coming up next week, full of companies with employees that love their jobs and really enjoy going to work. That’s great for them, but what about those who aren’t so lucky? Here are 8 ways we can learn to love our jobs that little bit more..
1. Think about what you enjoy at work… and ramp it up
Focusing on the areas of your job that you really do enjoy will give you the strength to get through the less enjoyable parts. Whether that may be the flexible work hours, the interesting projects, opportunities for development or the great bunch of colleagues you work with, focus on these areas and try to embrace them even more.
2. Make a change, however big or small
The root of employee unhappiness is often boredom. Instead of lulling around spending time feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about how bored you are, take the plunge and modify what’s getting you down. Start challenging yourself and think, “What would give me more joy at work?” And then make it happen. Be persistent in adding worth to what you bring to your job, and it’s likely your boss will notice and reward you for it.
3. Volunteer – either through your work, or on the side
Volunteering can help you to escape the dramas and negativity in your own life, and allow you to gain perspective on the needs of others less fortunate. If your employer initiates the volunteering it can help to build relationships amongst co-workers, as you work together to make a difference.
4. Keep up to speed with your field of expertise
Don’t get left behind in your chosen industry. Becoming complacent may mean that when interesting opportunities arise at work, you may not be adept enough to grab them. Read trade publications or set up a Google Alert that tells you about news in your industry. Remaining in the know, and up to date with industry trends, may empower you to come up with your own projects that you can start. Plus it means you can really own your area of the business, and people (including your boss) will come to you when they need knowledge or advice about something.
5. Take the plunge and ask for more duties
Think about your current position and dissect it in order to identify a new responsibility that will challenge and excite you. Listen to conversations carefully and make sure you’re aware of any upcoming projects or positions that you can put your name in for. Say yes to new assignments. If all else fails and you can’t think of any yourself, or aren’t aware of any upcoming, then schedule a meeting with your manager and ask them. It’s likely they might not be aware that your task load is thin, and they’ll welcome the fact that you’re showing your initiative and demonstrating interest in your work.
6. Declutter your desk, then create your own office nest
If your office space is messy and overwhelming it can make employees feel low on energy. Clear out as you go. Take rubbish out of overflowing drawers and declutter your mail inbox. It’s liberating and empowering, and it will allow you to go on to create your own office nest. We spend so much time at work it’s important we try to make our own area as enjoyable as we can. Make your space your own by decorating your area with photos of loved ones, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can be.
7. Move around more
Most of us are likely to work in an office and stay seated for the majority of the day. This can cause us to feel sluggish, and also may contribute to health concerns such as weight gain, heart disease or eye strain. Find time to go on a short walk, run up and down your stairs, take a quick gym class (where possible), or stand up and do a short 10 minute exercise. This short break will not only benefit your health but will put you in a better place mood-wise as well, helping you to enjoy the rest of your day more.
8. Finally, smile and laugh more
Smiling and laughing are so simple, but really can help us to enjoy work more. They tell your brain to be more happy by releasing neuropeptides. A recent Gallup study discovered that those who smile and laugh more at work are more engaged with their job. Improving engagement will mean you’re generally happier and more enthusiastic, and people will be more likely to want to have you on their team. At the end of the day most of our troubles at work are quite trivial, so try not to be so serious; couldn’t we all use a laugh anyway?