Take your Job and Love it
Tips for improving your performance and happiness at work
No matter how you spend your nine to five (or, let’s be real, seven to seven), you can make it feel less like work. Taking control of little things – say, by decorating your desk with succulents or art – can increase your performance and happiness by helping you feel more invested in your space, says an expert in organisational psychology. Read on for more easy yet transformative ideas
GET everyone TO BE nicer
‘When you encounter a rude associate, your brain is more likely to interpret future interactions negatively,’ says Dr Trevor Foulk, assistant professor of management and organisation at the University of Maryland in the US. In other words, grumpiness is contagious. Start a positive cycle with thoughtful gestures, such as going on snack runs or saying thank you more often, which studies show can lead to higher employee satisfaction. Also, feel free to gossip – just focus on the good kind. Research suggests that sharing something positive about your day with a peer, whether it’s a rare compliment from your boss or a funny text from your children, makes you more content.
Go on the best break
Your energy, concentration and motivation levels wane as the day goes on, but taking a midmorning break can replenish them before they run out, revealed a study at Baylor University in the US. We say spend it developing a closer friendship with a colleague (a.k.a. future work husband or wife), which has been shown to help people feel happier, better connected and more successful at their jobs. Can a double latte do all that?
Disconnect – and mean it
You already know you earn the title of ‘family party pooper’ if you work during holidays, but a recent US study has found that doing this pressures coworkers into following your lead during their downtime. As a result, everyone feels less valued, driven and committed. So do the office a favour and forget your e-mail password for the week.
Add some colour
Certain hues are powerful enough to affect your mood and ambition, according to a study at the University of Texas in the US. Colour expert Kate Smith suggests incorporating yellow into your workspace to enhance creativity, blue to help you calm down and focus, or purple to put yourself in a problem-solving mind-set.
Compile a productivity playlist
Hearing a song you love doesn’t just bring out your best (…worst?) dance moves. It also releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine that engages your brain’s reward system and can push you to achieve something, says a study published in Nature Neuroscience. So if your office is headphone-friendly, create a mix of music that’ll inspire you to finish your to-dos (lipsynching optional).