We’re told our jobs do not define us and that there’s more to life than work, but with an average of 38 hours per week spent in the office, it certainly takes up a lot of time in our lives. And when we find ourselves spending more time at work than we do at home, we want those working hours to be as happy as can be. But just how do we achieve this contentment?
A survey by business insurers Hiscox took data from the top 10 most populated cities in the UK to shed some light on the happiness levels of British workers, and what it is that influences them. With insights from their findings, here’s how we can use renewed resolutions and motivations to make 2019 a happier year at work.
Make yourself morning-ready, especially if you’re not a morning person
Many cities surveyed suggested that early mornings are a massive contributor to ‘work dread’. Not every company is flexible enough for remote working or late starts, so if this is the case – make yourself morning-ready, rather than a morning person (which doesn’t come naturally to all of us). It will infinitely improve your day if you wake up to your workwear and lunch ready and waiting. Plus, it will leave you with longer time to lie in bed. The additional sleep and extra time to make the morning train will assist in helping you feel calm, in control and ready to carpe diem.
Set your goals: go and get that pay rise or promotion
With promotion comes great responsibility, but presumably – a bigger pay cheque, too. The results of the survey found that 70% of respondents who earned £75,000 or more look forward to returning to work, compared to just 31% of those on £20,000 or less. This suggests that money is, and always will be, a motivator for making the working day feel ‘worth it’.
Significantly, a pay rise took the number one spot on the list of things respondents hoped to work towards in 2019 to improve happiness.
To get your new year off to a great start, set some goals with your manager so you have a clear, concrete and tangible plan for moving forwards and working towards your target.
Reclaim your morning commute
With rail fares increasing by 3.1% in January, it’s no wonder money is on the mind – and what’s more, we’re paying for something we don’t want to do. According to a 2018 study, Londoners have the tenth worst commute in the world – suffering an average journey time of 84 minutes. And other parts of the country seem to have the same distaste, with 26% of Bradford workers stating it as the worst thing about work.
Not only can a lengthy commute feel like a waste of time, but it can also become detrimental to an individual’s health, causing stress and exhaustion.
One way to combat this is to reclaim your commute. Take the journey as a time to relax, reflect and get ready for the day, whether it’s listening to some music or (if you’re a passenger) flicking through a few pages of your book, and turn the inconvenience of travelling into time to yourself.
Take time to socialise with colleagues – and not just when in work
The science behind socialising with colleagues is simple. With more time spent with them than our own families, sturdy friendships at work are the answer to making it feel less like labour, and more like a pleasant place to be. As well as this, studies have found that these positive relationships can “improve productivity, engagement and creativity levels among staff”. Whether it’s taking one day a week to venture from your desks to dine together, or having a few Friday beers to celebrate the weekend, it’s a way to boost relations, raise morale and make Mondays more bearable (and dare we say it – enjoyable).
In an era of the always switched-on mentality, make sure you switch off
When asked about the biggest concerns around going back to work, the survey revealed that 41% of participants aged 25-35 years old identified stress as a significant factor. It is possible that this “switched-on” mentality harvested through improvements in technology and communications has created a culture of working around the clock. And when you have constant access to your co-workers, emails and a continuous stream of work, it can make you counterproductive – as you never have time to really reset. This will affect your happiness greatly, making you overworked, unrested and likely resentful towards your job. So, be sure to take some time to switch off – and save your brain for the hours that count the most.
Small changes can make a big difference to your working day. If you’re looking to be happier at work with an all-round feeling of better wellbeing in 2019, then why not try implementing these techniques today?