Job satisfaction differs with every person. For some, it’s compensation-related; for others, it’s the need for career advancement opportunities. When we’re no longer satisfied, we start to wonder, “What’s missing? What would make me happier? How can I find what I need?”
If you’re unhappy in your current position, however, you don’t have to leave. Sometimes simply finding a way to do your current job that brings you happiness and contentment is the refresh you need.
If you’re not sure what to change, these five data-backed tips and expert opinions on how to improve your happiness at work will help you get started in the right direction.
Sixty-six percent of Millennials believe a respectful workplace is one of the top contributors to job satisfaction.
How do you foster a respectful workplace as an employee? If you lead by example, others will likely follow. Treat people how you want to be treated: Show up on time to meetings, listen to what your co-workers have to say, and respect their wishes and boundaries. Co-workers will see how you behave and adjust their behavior accordingly.
Work for Yourself
In a workplace burnout survey that polled both self-employed and traditional full-time respondents, 15 percent more self-employed respondents indicated zero burnout.
Sometimes we consider burnout an inevitable part of working. Freelancers and the self-employed, however, don’t see it that way. While they do face different challenges, being your own boss could be the breath of fresh air you need. The simplest answer would be to quit your job and start your own company, but that’s not a realistic option for most people.
Consider starting a freelancing job on the side in addition to keeping your full-time job. While it does mean more hours of work, it could be a great opportunity to experience what it’s like while you still have job security. If you decide it’s what makes you happiest, you can work toward doing that full time and getting out of your office job.
A recent study from Harvard Medical School and the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany found that meditation allowed for more control over emotions.
Participants in the study mentioned above had never practiced meditation before, but as they continued to meditate, they developed a stronger ability to control their emotions, which can help you focus on the good in your job, rather than the bad.
But does meditation at home really help you hours later when you’re at work? Huffington Post contributor Gina Soleil used to have the same question, and realized she needed to learn to meditate at work. Her advice: go to the bathroom. “You’ve left that boring meeting so you can hang out in a bathroom stall with peace and quiet for five minutes. The bathroom is always the perfect excuse to leave anything. And now the bathroom has just become your meditation space,” suggests Soleil.
Make a Work Friend
Work friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50 percent.
A recent study has found a significant correlation between having friends at work and overall job satisfaction and performance. Employees are estimated to be seven times more productive if they have a close friend in the office.
To make new friends, ask questions to get to know people, invite someone to go to happy hour, or sit together in the break room at lunch. Kindness goes a long way too—try bringing someone coffee just because.
Ask for More of What You Like
Dan Schwartz, founder of the Ground Floor Leadership Institute and a contributor to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You’ll Love, says that “a crucial first step to finding a career you love is to truly understand your complete skill set” and then “identify the skills that you most enjoy using.”
Like most people, you’ve got parts of your job that you really look forward to, and parts of your job that you dread. What if you could spend 80 percent of your time using your favorite skills? Once you’ve identified what you like to do best, think about ways that you might be able to tweak your job to spend more time using your preferred skills. Before looking for a new position, talk to your boss about your strengths and how you can contribute to the organization using those skills.
Managing job satisfaction can be as easy as making time for meditation and figuring out what you want to do more of. Use these tips to guide your career decisions now and in the future to make your 40-hour work week as enjoyable as possible.