10 Ways to Be Happier at Work


There’s so much advice out there about how to be more productive at work. But our mental health is just as important as how many meetings we can squeeze into one day, or how quickly we can file that report.

So instead of focusing on getting more done, why not put a bit of focus into ways to be happy at work. After all, there is a whole lot of research to suggest that a happy employee is a productive employee.

Here are 10 ways to be happier at the office – from things you can do today to things you should implement within the month.

Make Your Mornings Count

Start each morning with 15 minutes devoted to creating your daily goals and assessing any emergencies. You don’t need to make your ritual any more complicated than necessary – just taking time for yourself will help focus you, making it easier to recognise what makes you happy and plot the steps to get there.

Bribe Yourself

Everyone has parts of their jobs they don’t love. Even people who taste Champagne for a living have to fill in spreadsheet and meet budgets (hopefully?).

To get through that long to-do list, try incentivising yourself. Think along the lines of, ‘If I finish this report before midday, I’ll take myself out for a nice lunch,’ or ‘I can go see a movie tonight with my partner, as long as I get this finished first.’

There’s time to find that internal motivation, and there’s times to just dangle a carrot and get the job done!


Help a Co-worker Out

There’s plenty of research that continues to show that helping others actually makes us happier. When you prioritise helping a co-worker, you create a mental reward system that promotes self-satisfaction. So, take 10 minutes to help the new person learn the internal database system and feel the happiness all week.

Buy a Plant

A 2014 study showed that when plants are brought into offices – one per square metre – employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests improve substantially.

Ask for help at the nursery to make sure you choose one that will work best in your office’s light.


Take a Nap

It’s that simple. Being well-rested allows you to focus and think better, meaning you spend less time zoned out and more time engaged. It has been proven that a 10-minute nap produces immediate improvements to fatigue, vigour and cognitive performance, with some benefits maintained for as long as 2.5 hours. 10 minutes lying down in the local park will do wonders to help with focus, energy and general health.


Walk Around the Block

Sometimes all it takes to boost your mood is a quick walk around the block. Walking is not only great for you physically, but it also lifts your mood. Maybe even grab that co-worker you’ve been meaning to talk to, and have a walking outdoor meeting.


Eat Foods that Boost Your Mood

When pushed for time, most of us will choose complimentary snacks over purchasing our own – the bowl of fun-size chocolates, for example, or the doughnuts someone brought in for their meeting. Instead, either ask that the break room snacks are healthy and full of good energy, or keep your own stash in your desk drawer.

Snacking gets a bad rap health-wise, but it is actually a great, easy way to incorporate more nutrients and energy into your day. Research has shown that Millennial workers replace a full meal with snacking at least once a week, with half of respondents saying that regularly snack at work. 60% of workers say they wish there were healthier snacks available when they’re busy, stressed or craving something delicious.

Of course, SnackWize can help you with a regular subscription to ensure your snacks are always healthy, fresh and interesting.


Plan an Office Event

Plan something for the office – anyone who wants to come. Whether it’s casual Fridays, company sports teams, or an end-of-year BBQ, designate some down time to actually increase productivity and happiness.


Add Novelty to Your Job

Find a new challenge. Don’t just do something simply because it’s going to get you noticed by your boss – pick something that excites you or scratches a creative itch. Maybe its organising monthly ‘meet and learn’ sessions in the conference room, or building a borrowing library, or investigating a pro bono opportunity. It will make you excited to come to work.


Improve the Breakroom

A great break room really can be the foundation to an enjoyable, healthy work environment.

If your break room is looking a bit tired, ask if you can take charge of freshening it up. You need a great water filter, a tea and coffee station and a healthy snack bowl at the minimum! Bonus points for a good fridge system, well-stocked cupboards (with cutlery, mugs and plates) and a few happy plants.

All your colleagues will love you for it!

Phoebe Tully