5 Goals to Increase Workplace Happiness (and Productivity)

I’ve always been what most would consider a busy-body. My downtime generally consists of the one evening per week where I have to slow down enough to do laundry and call my grandma. That being said, the transition into an office job that required 40 hours of sitting at a computer weekly was not necessarily an easy one. A cat taking to water is perhaps the best analogy. I realized quite quickly that in order to maintain a high level of workplace happiness (and keep off the pounds that accumulate from a sedentary office life) I was going to have to set some daily workplace goals. Thus far, they’ve worked pretty well. And surprisingly, these goals have even increased my daily productivity.

Eating Healthy

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In the office, sweet treats are enemy number one to health, happiness, and productivity. Although office snacks have been shown to boost employee morale, the type of snacks plays an important role in maintaining this good feeling. High sugar snacks with little nutritional value are great for a short burst of energy, but they don’t last. Actually, sugary snacks provide a short energy spike followed by a prolonged state of drowsiness.

Sweet treats are always going to be around. Therefore, the best solution out there is to plan ahead and bring your own lunches and snacks. That way you’re in complete control of the type and amount of food you eat. Furthermore, you have an alternative when a coworker brings in doughnuts or cake for everyone. It isn’t always easy, but I’ve found I’m a lot happier at work when I’m not eating poorly or feeling drowsy.

Making Friends

Finding friends in the workplace is almost essential to actually liking your job. Research shows that about 45 percent of employees that have one to five workplace friends love the company they work for. Since employees spend most of their waking time at work, it makes sense to have a feeling of completion through developing a workplace community and support system.

The support system is essential. Nobody goes home and only talks about work. Non-work friends and family don’t want to hear about it and they don’t really understand the ins and outs of your day. Workplace communities create a sense of belonging and increases motivation to do well. This has certainly rung true for me, my work friends encourage me to achieve more and hold me to high standards.

Limiting Interruptions

Although developing friendships is hugely important to a successful office environment, limiting the number of interruptions to your workflow can also play a pivotal role. According to research from Rutgers Business School, being interrupted too many times throughout the day can increase stress and lower workplace satisfaction. Even being able to anticipate interruptions profoundly decreases stress levels and helps employees become more productive throughout the day. My favorite way to limit interruptions is by wearing headphones. Music helps me focus on what I’m doing.  Further, fewer people feel comfortable interrupting when you have to visibly turn off your music.

Organizing Workflow

One of the best ways in which to help reduce the number of workflow interruptions is to organize the day. Writing down realistic daily goals and making sure to budget enough time to complete them is a great start plus it enables you to leave work feeling accomplished. Furthermore, keeping your email inbox and other workplace tools in a state of organization streamlines your work. This limits the amount of time you’ll spend searching for emails or resources for projects and boost daily productivity immensely.

Exercising at Work

Sitting all day can be extremely hard on your body—actually it has been linked to most major ailments in society today such as obesity, some types of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Not only that, but a lack of movement slows you down enough that it can make you feel sleepy and increase difficulty concentrating on certain topics. Getting up and moving as much as possible is the best cure for this.

It can be difficult to actually fit in a full on exercise regimen into your lunch break. But there are plenty of other options that help (and don’t require a shower). For instance, use a 15-minute break to take a short walk or get up every hour to use the bathroom/grab a drink of water. Doing so gives your body that jolt back to alertness.  It also helps address some of the more damaging health aspects associated with a sedentary job.  Also, you can opt for walking meetings to improve workplace health.

About the Author

 Brittni Brown is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho; she currently works at a local marketing company. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and camping.

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