Do you love what you do? Job success can be measured in many ways: by the salary you earn, by the personal and corporate goals you achieve, by data-driven metrics, computer program printouts and pie charts. Job success is also defined by the emotional response you have about your work. Job satisfaction is about how much you enjoy the tasks associated with your job, and how happy you are with the results of your effort. Research and statistics about the psychology of happiness in the workplace agree — the most motivated and successful employees really love the work that they do.
What does it mean to really love your job?
How do we define happiness in the workplace? Happy employees show very visible and measurable differences in behavior than unhappy employees. A person who loves their job shows that love in their body language, their facial expression, their attention to detail and their goal achievement. A happy employee walks and talks with confidence. They attend meetings because they understand the purpose of meetings, and they ask critical and creative questions about company goals and their own role in achieving those goals. Happy employees ask important questions that help drive corporate change and provide meaningful focus points for future corporate goals.
The power of love: Transforming corporate cultures
Corporations and academic communities have spent time and money studying workplace situations that are referred to as “toxic work environments” or “bad corporate cultures.” Toxic work cultures show in lack of employee job satisfaction, poor lines of communications and lack of trust between employees and management.
Transforming corporate cultures that have become “toxic” is a huge field of study today that focuses on practical systems and strategies that restore workplace relationships, repair communications systems and result in happier employees.
Do you really love to suffer while you work?
That title question might sound like a joke — and it kind of is — but psychology tells us that some people do prefer to suffer while they work. Maybe those people grew up with a work ethic that taught that suffering and conflict leads to success. The old-school Hegelian dialectic is still firmly lodged in our English-speaking, North American culture. The German philosopher, Hegel, taught that no progress was possible without a strong conflict between competing and opposite ideologies. Some employees do thrive on what most would call extreme conditions. If you are considering a career change, Forbes magazine has put together a list of the “Worst Jobs in 2016.”
Strategies to love what you do — today
Here are three specific strategies you can apply right now to bring on the love and increase your overall workplace happiness.
1. Improve your physical comfort. If you are working at a desk, check your posture and adjust your seat, desk, computer screen and keyboard so you are more physically comfortable. Check out this video for tips on how to arrange your desk in a healthy way. Whether you are sitting or standing, take opportunities to stretch throughout the day. Physical discomfort causes exhaustion and can lead to pain or injury.
2. Optimize your lighting. Improper lighting causes eye strain, fatigue and headaches. Adjust the lighting on your computer screen and check the effectiveness of your overhead lighting. Add a desk-lamp if needed, and arrange window coverings to allow more natural light where possible.
3. Own your breaks like a boss. Too many excellent employees work through their allowed breaks, and even during lunch. Breaks might seem like a great time to get that photocopy done, mail that parcel or check your email, but those breaks are necessary to our workplace happiness and our overall health. Use breaks and lunch times for rest, recreation and nourishment. Take a walk in the fresh air, have lunch in the park, or just kick back and relax.