Most people can look at their job and identify both the parts they like the most and those that they dread. For some, work can be mostly arduous with some perks once in a while, but even the most satisfied employees can benefit from making small changes that can improve their workplace happiness. Beyond the obvious value of enjoying your job more, having fun at work can increase productivity and engagement as well as help avoid burnout.
Considering that we spend roughly a third of our time at work, the advantages of enjoying this time are numerous. Workplace happiness can improve life satisfaction, increase engagement, and has even been proven to improve productivity. Additionally, enjoying your work is a great way to defuse workplace stress (see our article on stress in the workplace here) and enhance mental health.  With these rewards in mind, we recommend focusing on a few simple steps to have a better time at your job.
Focus on Relationships
Feeling isolated at work is a very common factor that leads to burnout. The easiest way to fight this is to be intentional about developing relationships with your colleagues. Seek out interesting things about them and look for opportunities to get to know them better. This might include get-togethers outside of work (though this may be more challenging in today’s remote environments) or it can be as simple as taking time to be genuine and ask how they are doing before launching into a work subject that you need to discuss.
Find reasons to celebrate. If your company culture supports celebrating birthdays, employee anniversaries, and employee achievements, then you have a great place to start. Even if that isn’t the nature of your workplace you can always make a point of recognizing others when they do well. Injecting joy into your day whenever possible combats monotony and boredom on the job, encourages a positive mentality, and promotes stronger teams.
Start the Day Right
There’s a lot of research on morning routines. Some people swear by them and others would prefer to “go with the flow” but there are a few things that you can do before you even get to work that can set you up for success. Start the day by dressing in clothes that make you feel successful, confident, and comfortable. If music helps you feel good, take advantage of that; some people like to have a consistent “pump-up” playlist that they listen to each morning to help get into a positive mindset for the day. Others like to catch up on the news or grab a cup of coffee before the workday begins so jumpstart your workday with whatever routine works best for you.
Structure your Time
Organizing your thoughts and priorities as well as your office or desk can be a helpful way to keep you focused. Enhance your wellbeing and be more productive by taking breaks and walking around during the day, visiting with coworkers over lunch or breaks, and using other strategies for breaking the tedium of sitting at your desk. Recognize your own accomplishments and those of others with fun cards or emails and personalize your workspace so it’s a place you enjoy.
Leave Work at Work
If you can’t seem to disconnect from work after hours, you may be setting yourself up to resent your job. In this ever-connected world it’s easy to constantly be available and working, but by disregarding work-life balance, you can disrupt your happiness and effectiveness. (see our article here xxx) Just as when you enter the office and it’s time to work and be productive, when you leave, it’s time to recuperate and relax. For the many who currently work from a home office, this can be even harder, so make sure to set healthy boundaries and put time and energy into non-work activities you enjoy.
While work isn’t necessarily supposed to be fun, you can and should be able to enjoy your job. The positive effects of enjoying your job are numerous. Among a variety of other benefits, it prevents burnout, increases productivity, and improves mental health. Having a good time at work doesn’t have to take immense amounts of time or effort and in fact, small, everyday changes like focusing on relationships, celebrating successes, and starting the day well can make an enormous difference. While you may not inherently love everything about your job, steps like these can go a long way towards helping you have more fun at work.