What does happiness mean to you? It’s an emotion that is totally dependent on the individual—what makes one person happy might not affect another in the same way. But, what’s universally true is the right to be happy at work.
We spend a good amount of our day at work and we deserve to find satisfaction in what we do, our jobs, and our daily interactions. As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed and more and more companies allowed a flexible work schedule, that flexibility has become an even more important driver of workplace well-being. In fact, the 2022 World Happiness Report states that workers have come to value time and location flexibility more than ever before.
The good news is that companies have taken note. In the Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment survey, 68% of senior HR leaders rated employee well-being and mental health as a top priority for their companies.
At Elastic, we’re distributed by design. We have Elasticians in more than 40 countries and encourage a flexible working schedule. And to address other aspects of well-being, we have Be.Well, a program focused on various aspects of Elasticians’ financial, social, and emotional health.
So, while allowing workers the flexibility to juggle their personal lives with their work lives and supporting them with company benefits that prioritize their well-being, we also have these tips for being (and staying) happy at work:
Adopt a positive outlook
If you start your day or week with a negative attitude, that will only encourage you to feel that way. According to Selin Kesebir, London Business School’s Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, happiness is a skill. So, in order to hone your happiness skill, practice banishing those negative thoughts and flipping them to a positive. Every time a negative thought tries to creep in, challenge yourself to find the positive. Write it down and when you hit a certain number (five, 10, 20) reward yourself with a coffee, new notebook or something similar.
One way that you can help to train your brain is to start a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness has been touted to have many benefits, including stress reduction, increased focus, and a boost in memory—all things that will be a huge win at work!
At Elastic, we have a Slack channel dedicated to meditations. Throughout the day, meditations are offered in various time zones for Elasticians to join. If you want to practice on your own time, download Headspace or Calm—both are meditation apps with low barriers to entry.
Set yourself up correctly
If you work from home (and have the space), create a dedicated work area for yourself. Invest in an ergonomic chair and make sure your desk is at the right height. Then, fill your space with things that bring you joy—a plant, personal photos, a favorite mug. You’ll be spending a good amount of time there so make sure it’s not only comfortable but also appealing. Same goes for in the office—bring in photos, a pillow for your chair, and whatever else makes your desk feel home-y.
Sitting hunched over your desk for eight straight hours won’t make anyone happy. Instead, take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and get out of your working area. Our Source Code's Home, Dinner pillar encourages a flexible schedule that means you can get out during the day to do what you need to do.
In a distributed, asynchronous environment, it can be easy to remove basic social interaction from your workday. However, it’s key to workplace happiness and a feeling of belonging. Schedule casual catch-ups or coffee chats with your co-workers, and build in regular contact with your manager. At Elastic, we give new hires a ‘buddy’ to meet with, build in opportunities for coffee breaks to meet people, and generally have a culture of togetherness.
Remind yourself of your work and accomplishments
It’s easy to go about your job, complete your tasks, and forget about the greater impact what you’re doing has. We don’t remind ourselves often enough of the effect our role has, or praise ourselves for a job well done. So, schedule a pause at the end of every quarter to consider what you did well over the last three months. What are you proud of? What did you do exceptionally well? Create a folder in your inbox and file away positive feedback from co-workers or your manager. And start a sticky note with other small wins. Then you have a reminder of your accomplishments on a particularly rough day, plus recognizing yourself and your work can drive you to be a happier, more fulfilled employee.
Looking for a job that brings you joy and a company that prioritizes happiness? We’re hiring.