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Six ideas to make you happier at work

Work. Ugh.

Rarely does that word excite or motivate us. More often than not, when I have a conversation with someone about work, their face drops and the complaining begins. While not scientific, I'd say that over half the people I know simply don't enjoy their jobs.

That's why it's called "work" after all - no one would do it for free (including you). So, you get paid to show up, slog through a day, and go home to your family or cats or family of cats.

But I don't think the solution to our collective malaise about our jobs has to do with the simple reflexive property that work = work and it'll never be anything else. Time and again I'm amazed and impressed by the ideas I'm seeing when it comes to how people can be happier at work, find more meaning in what they do, increase output, and see an improvement in all areas of life.

So, in order for you to be a bit happier about work, I bring you several links I've found in the past few weeks that will help you look at your job differently. None of them suppose that you must quit your job or work from the beach. All of them include helpful ideas for the leader and employee who is feeling a bit stuck in their day-to-day routine. Enjoy.

Caring matters

As USA Today reports, the chance to give back at work can help you focus more and do something that makes a ding in the universe. Your charity at work doesn't end with an easy donation. You may have the chance to impact policies around the world.

My conclusion: look for ways to give back at work. Then, pay attention to what happens next. It could be the start of an amazing and unexpected professional journey.

Go for work/life integration

I love this article in the New York Times about new perks companies are doling out. From housecleaning to counseling, more and more companies are helping their employees be less stressed at work and home. The notion is quickly being accepted that there is no "work/life balance" and that instead work and life should be integrated so employees can focus on each appropriately given the unpredictable situations life throws our way.

My conclusion: ask your employer for help not just at work, but at home. Even if no perks currently exist, begin to plant the seeds for a workplace that understands people have obligations at home, too.

Work whenever

As startup PR firm Onboardly suggests, ditching the time clock is an idea whose time has come. With many companies moving to a ROWE (results only work environment) model, as long as work is being done, who cares when it's happening? Flexible schedules make us all happier; see if you can add a little time flexibility into your day.

My conclusion: bend your work hours. While not every workplace will be on board, see if you can find someone willing to give it a shot. Just make sure you hit your numbers and everyone should be happy (especially you).

Work smarter, not harder

A big report just came out that shows working longer hours may not equate to an increase in productivity (or happiness). Our peers around the world work much less than we Americans do, and we're the worse for it. As it turns out, we all need to step back a bit, relax when we can, and then work hard when it's time. In other words, we need to be on vacation when we go on vacation.

My conclusion: relax like it's your job. When you're not at work, try your best to be fully immersed in your personal or family life. You'll be much happier when you return to work the next day.

Work for a leader, not a company

A new study shows how good supervisors affect the bottom line, meaning, a boss's impact on employees can be measured quantitatively. So, you'll be better off if you have the right leadership in place. While it can be difficult to get a new boss or manager in place, you can seek out mentors within your company, even if they don't directly supervise you.

My conclusion: align yourself with good leadership. You'll be happier when you respect your boss and you can feel more secure knowing that your company will be more successful longterm.

Embrace all the perks

As Rosetta Thurman points out in this excellent blog post full of ideas for nonprofit employees and managers, perks don't always have to be big, like tuition reimbursement or use of the company jet. SImple ideas like leaving early on Fridays or scrapping the idea of vacation time can have a huge boost on morale.

My conclusion: find something small and treasure it. Whatever small benefit you can find about work, hang on to it and celebrate it. Or, look at Rosetta's article and run one of her ideas up the flagpole to see what gets approved.

What about you?

How have you found happiness at work? What ideas do you want to share that have made you happier at work?

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