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ATD Blog

5 Ways to Get (and Stay) Happy at Work in 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

If you found yourself daydreaming at work this month about finding a job that will bring you happiness and joy in 2019, you might be surprised to find that you can easily create a happy work environment with just a little effort.

Rather than give your notice and choose a career path you think might have greener pastures, roll up your sleeves and give these five effective tips on how to be happy at work a try today.

Leave Personal Issues at Home

Bringing your personal problems to work is never a good idea for creating a productive and happy work environment. When you are preoccupied with a personal problem at work, the confinement and inability to change things from that cubicle can just add to your stress levels. If you can let go of work problems when you are home with the family, try leaving family issues at home and you will find your morale at work picks up.

Create Your Office Support System

Just like you surround yourself with friends who share a common interest while away from work, try to do the same at work and watch how your outlook brightens. Create an inner circle of friends at work who all share a common interest—it can help to ease some of the pressures on the job.

Putting together a bowling team, starting a walking club, or joining a fantasy sports league with colleagues is a great way to talk about things that excite you and make it more enjoyable to make that commute into work each day.

Build Your Office Nest

Most people are at their jobs for more time than they spend in their own bed at night. Spending over eight hours in the same room can become a grind and wear on your ability to find positive things to focus on each day.


Transform your workspace into your very own nest, complete with pictures of those exotic places you want to go on vacation, pictures of loved ones, and motivational sayings that drive you toward your goals. Be sure to stay within the company policy as far as decorating your space, then relax a few minutes each day and feel the feelings the pictures inspire.

Start Moving Around

Spending eight hours in an office environment can easily become very sedentary. One of the ways to improve your mood is to get up and start moving. During your break, simply take a walk to your car and just soak in some fresh air or marvel at the landscaping around the building. Rather than eat your lunch at the cafeteria or in your cubicle, take a walk to a local food establishment.


When you need to take a bathroom break, take the longest possible route to the facilities and enjoy the time away from your desk. Moving around a little more each day can improve your health and well-being, helping to change your outlook on life.

Get Organized and Reward Yourself

One way to increase your happiness at the workplace is to simply get organized. That excess clutter can make even the easiest tasks overwhelming. Develop a schedule each day you can manage, create file folders for everything, and keep things on your desk to a minimum. Once you begin to easily handle the workload each day, start to reward yourself for a job well done.

Too many people work to the point of exhaustion and never take time to reward themselves. Each week after work, plan to see a movie with friends, stay at a bed and breakfast, see a play, try a new restaurant, or do anything that will get you excited on Monday to get through your workweek and to your weekly reward.

Follow a few of these happiness tips and your morale at work will improve, your energy level will increase, and your entire outlook will be more positive. The end result is that not only will you increase your own level of happiness, your glowing spirit will become contagious at work and more positive people will start gravitating toward you.

About the Author

Devin C. Hughes is an author, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and an internationally recognized expert in the science of happiness, organizational/culture change and leadership development. He has lectured and worked with a variety of Fortune 100 companies, as well as the Secret Service, the IRS, and an assortment of profit and nonprofit organizations. Devin is the author of 20 books and has lectured in more than 15 countries. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, four daughters, and two rescue dogs.

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I would suggest a more team oriented solution on how to be happy and profitably productive, as is so vastly the case among employees at Southwest Airlines. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background:
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Excellent article, Devin!
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I'm troubled by the 'leave personal issues at home'. We're human beings. When you hire someone, you hire the whole person. I'm concerned that this does not support the strides we've been making in mental health awareness. For some, the only support system is at work.
Hi Meike - I think it it a matter of degree and it also depends upon your workplace. Some workplaces are open about sharing personal issues and others are not. I think the point here is that being preoccupied with your personal problems while at work takes a big toll on productivity and can bring others down with you. So, while some sharing is fine, everything in moderation is usually still a good approach.
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