6 happiness hacks to try at work today - updated 2022

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In recent years, each of us has dealt with the stress of significant events that we have no direct control over, and we could use some happiness hacks. We've gone through everything from lockdowns and severe weather including historic heatwaves, to recession and political turmoil. If you're left feeling emotionally exhausted, you owe it to yourself to be as happy as possible while you’re putting in your work hours. See if these small adjustments can help you feel more fulfilled during your 9 to 5 - starting from today.

1. Get moving before work

If you know you’re going to be spending most of the day sitting down at your desk, aim to fit in some exercise before work. Not only has getting moving first thing been shown to help boost your energy throughout the working day, but it also releases happy hormones like endorphins, clears your mind and helps you feel more productive.

2. Bundle up and have lunch outside

It’s tempting to chow down on lunch at your desk, especially if you’re bogged down by a massive to-do list. But working through break-time may actually make you feel more downbeat about your day.

Studies point to the fact that if you leave the office for lunch you’ll be doing your overall wellbeing a favour - and you might even like your job more. If the weather lets you, find somewhere sunny to sit outside and stock up on fresh air and vitamin D - which is also very likely to be good for lowering the severity of symptoms caused by viruses including Covid-19. Recent studies also show spending time in natural scenery boosts your attention.  So do try to get outside, and if it's too cold, consider spending some time looking at natural scenery from inside and taking Vitamin D supplements.

3. Focus on friendships

Spending so much time outside the workplace interferes with our ability to form bonds. Under normal circumstances, you'd be socialising far more with your colleagues, just through casual contact at work.

It turns out that forming real connections is key if you want to be happy in your job. One study even shows that people who have one or more strong friendships at work stand more chance of being engaged with their role. That's why we recommend having a regular catch-up with your cohorts over video, not only for work purposes, but to help maintain and build those important social interactions.

4. Say no to negativity

Joining in with a moaning session (even over video) can feel so cathartic if you’re annoyed about something at work. But regularly complaining about your boss, your company or just everyday peeves and annoyances to others on your team is bad news.

Sure, we all get annoyed from time to time. But a venting free-for-all can actually make things seem worse than they are. That's because you end up focusing more, not less, on those vexing issues. It’s also demoralising for everyone, including you - and especially new starters in your team.

Your mission? Try to let negativity bounce off you. And if you’re truly annoyed about something, take action. Your workplace happiness depends on it.

5. Help someone out

Great news for altruists: lending colleagues a hand when it’s outside of your responsibility won’t just earn you Brownie points, it can also boost your mood.

One study in 2013 showed that those who helped others in the workplace weren’t just more likely to be committed to their jobs, but long-term they were actually happier. They also found more meaning in their personal as well as professional lives. So next time you spot someone panicking over an unfinished report or presentation, consider jumping in to do your bit.

6. Be crystal clear about your aims.

If you feel you’re drifting along at work with no clear strategy on where you’re heading, it’s bound to affect your sense of wellbeing. This can be especially true when you're feeling isolated due to time away from the team.  So make sure you can define your aims for the job you’re in. You might decide to focus on notching up new skills to rev up your chances of promotion, or get involved with a new project that’s outside of your normal remit to expand your experience.

An important part of HR GO’s mission to guide job candidates onto better roles is to also help them pinpoint what they want to get out of their working life in general. We know that having a well-defined purpose won’t just boost professional productivity - it can also be game-changer in how happy you feel in yourself.

Now's the time to prioritise your mental health

It's a stressful time and it's easy to become overwhelmed. If you feel that things are becoming too challenging or distressing for you to cope, do make sure to talk to someone about what you're going through and consider seeking professional help. We've previously pulled together our best tips on how to cope, and included contact information for support in our blog: Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health. Above all, be kind to yourself and get help if you need it. 

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