9 Tips for Becoming—And Staying—a Happy Employee

a group of happy employees gathered around a table working

Halloween steadily approaches, which means it’s the season from some deeply unsettling—and downright terrifying—horror movies. You know what I’m talking about. The classics, like “The Exorcist”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and, perhaps the scariest one of all, “Office Space.” Because really, what strikes fear into the hearts of people more than a workplace setting that makes for miserable employees?

Thankfully, taking steps to become (and stay) a happy employee is far easier than battling demonic possession and some dude named Freddy who attacks you in your dreams. In fact, here’s a list!

Tip #1: Choose to Be a Happy Employee Every Day

As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, decide for yourself that you’ll be happy regardless of whatever situation you’ll find yourself in. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge your feelings of sadness, discouragement, or even anger. It just means that you’ve resolved to remain positive and optimistic no matter who or what threatens to bring you down.

Tip #2: Keep an Eye on the Prize

Sometimes you need to stop and remember your underlying motivation. If you’re there at your company to make a difference, to prepare or save for your future, or to provide for your family, you’ll gain perspective. Keeping an eye on the prize means looking ahead at your ultimate goal—focusing on that can help reinforce why the workday grind is worth it.

Tip #3: Do Something Nice and Unexpected for a Co-Worker

Sometimes visiting some kindness on your workmate in the next cubicle can be uplifting in and of itself. No one is advocating becoming the next Gandhi or Mother Theresa, but friendliness begets friendliness—especially in the workplace.

Tip #4: Support Your Co-Workers

Anyone who’s watched a few episodes of “The Game of Thrones” can tell you that when everyone takes turns stabbing each other in the back, you end up with a lot of unhappy people with holes in their backs. Don’t let your office be like that. One of the keys to being a happy employee is supporting your workmates. They, in turn, will likely support you.

Tip #5: Give Your Best In Everything You Do at the Office

You heard that right. Work on your tasks with enthusiasm. When you actually do your best and accomplish what is expected of you at the office—or better yet, beyond what’s expected of you—you’ll feel more accomplished and more productive. And that, in turn, will make you happier.

Tip #6: Exercise Every Day and Keep a Healthy Diet

Happy employees are almost always healthy! So exercise to get those happy endorphins flowing. Maintain a healthy diet to keep any sickness you can get by having a bad diet at bay. After all, how often are sick people happy?

Tip #7: Regularly Touch Base with Your Boss for Feedback

There is nothing sadder than entropy between you and your immediate supervisor. Successful businessmen like John Maxwell and Zig Ziglar have always stressed the need for employers or managers and their employees to set clear expectations at the very beginning. Truthfully, the main reason for disappointments is unmet expectations. Thus, if you regularly communicate with your boss and ask for feedback, you’ll be able to discuss expectations and achievements. And happy employees know precisely what is expected of them and work with gusto in achieving them accordingly.

Tip #8: Take Initiative on Your Personal Development

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school. In fact, we are all lifelong learners in this world. And in the workplace, you must keep learning as much as you can so you won’t fall into the trap of plateauing in your level of expertise or skill. Therefore, you must take charge of your own development. For instance, read books that will encourage you to be a more productive worker. Enroll in a certificate course. There’s nothing like the happiness that comes from the pursuit of personal growth and development.

Tip #9: Practice Work-Life Balance

Much of your day may be spent in the office, but you still have some time left for yourself. You can use that part of your day for your family, hobbies, and rest. Make it a point not to bring your work back with you at home. Let your front door be the marker that divides your home life and work life.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Unhappiness at work can often lead to unhappiness elsewhere in life—especially since we spend so much time at work. But this unhappiness doesn’t have to be! The aforementioned nine tips can help turn that work frown upside down. However, the common denominator in all of them is this: being a happy employee starts with you. So be that change you want to be.

About the Author

Kira Gochuico is a creative writer and a hungry reader of short stories, novels and self-improvement books of all kinds. Plus, she's into fitness and the endless search for great coffee. As a copy editor with Project Bold Life and Bold Business, she loves to encourage and support other writers with much gusto to hone their craft. She also believes that while it's great that people are reading works from writers of this generation, it's always good discipline for everyone to read the classics or the works of the writers that came before us.
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