We spend most of our time at the work place. Happiness, which defines the quality of our life, revolves around how much we enjoy our work. In fact, happiness, which is a subjective wellbeing, has a symbiotic relationship with work. The happier you are at work, the more productive you will become.
The importance of job is beyond what one earns from it, though better pay makes one happier. The recently released ‘World Happiness Report 2017’ identifies many more aspects that make us happy at work. Some of them include work-life balance, the level of individual autonomy enjoyed by the employee, job security and support received from colleagues.
The finding of Gallup World Poll, which covers over 150 countries, reveals many such aspects that determine our subjective well-being. Research shows that non-monetary aspects of employment like social status associated with your work, social relations one enjoys at work place are also key drivers of happiness.
Fostering a network of friends in your office will certainly make you happy. However, technology is creating silos at work place reducing human interaction. The more precise extent to which people are unhappy varies with where they work, whether they combine it with other activities, whether they are alone or with others. Recreation at work is the key determinant of happiness, although an excess of it can affect work-related productivity.
The level of engagement one has in his or her work would determine how happy one is at work. A good organisation clearly devolves and delineates work so that one takes pride and derives satisfaction from what one does. Moreover, if you are working for yourself, you would obviously be happier than working for someone else.
At work place, though one is working for the employer, a sense of individuality could be brought about by defining one’s responsibilities and rewarding the performance. Concrete division of work would enable one to get ownership of what he or she does. Life is not just about work; it has several non-work elements. Some of us equate life with work and disturb the happiness of other family members too. If one distinguishes between work and non-work facets of life unequivocally, a healthy valance can be achieved between work and life.
Some have a habit of bringing their job home with them by worrying about work matters even when they are not at work. This has the potential to kill happiness at home. The issues at work will obviously spill over to home. One should remember that keeping the two away from one another can keep the family happy.
Of course, if one’s life partner can share and counsel those bringing work to the house can stay happy. The less fortunate ones will be inviting trouble if they make a habit of bringing work to home. The character of bosses also defines happiness at work place. Some stoop to sycophancy and do things that impress bosses.
Such a strategy may help the individual to an extent but harms the organisation. Even the benefit the individual gets is limited and transient. Ultimate happiness comes from improved performance, irrespective of the traits of the boss. However, research also indicates that the competence levels of the boss are also critical factors and help shape happiness.
A sense of purpose in your work would make you happier. If you feel you are working for yourself, you are less likely to be happier compared to someone who feels working for one’s family. A working but caring mother does not feel unhappy to cook something the children like the most. Similarly, a father after an excruciating work schedule at office still finds relief in taking the child on an outing.
More so, if you find a sense of purpose in what you are doing, you would certainly be happy as you appreciate the relevance of the work for the society. If a career provides opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment, one finds the work place really exciting.
Many, who do not have economic compulsions, will still work for community life. The work place certainly provides us with friends and contacts enriching our social life. If the work place fails in this, the employees would find it disgusting.
Yet no one can conclusively testify what makes one happy. It can vary from person to person. If one goes for challenges, many prefer the routine workload. Some find pleasure in loneliness while others cannot tolerate it. Happiness is difficult to be defined and empirically measured. In fact, it can only be experienced.
Internal variables like one’s behavioural characteristics to external factors like work eco-system, decide many things. Ultimately, it’s a state of mind. Yet, the discussion is relevant as all of these aspects contribute to happiness at work to a great extent as it is individual-centric.