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Happiness at work: utopia or reality?

Yes, we spend a lot of hours at work. It’s normal to want to live there happily. But is it possible? The facts of the matter.

For 22 years, Adecco Quebec has been advocating the philosophy of happiness at work. And this philosophy is not utopian. On the contrary, it is a fact of life that finds its source in an actually quite simple recipe. At Adecco, being happy at work means being surrounded by people who share your values. This implies to evolve in an environment that allows free speech, so that you can be consistent at home and at work. In short, to form with your surroundings a community of interests and values in relation to what you are and what you want to be.

To the extent of your talent

You lack motivation. And now your acquaintances are suggesting you should change jobs to find new momentum. It’s not surprising since our society thrives on a performance notion that often leads to career advancement. And we are all likely to be drawn by this professional upward spiral. But is this truly the solution? It is worth questioning because a higher position isn’t always necessary to boost your motivation.

Accomplishment isn’t a matter of title. It isn’t limited to a paycheck and benefits either.  Hence the importance of choosing an environment and an employer that allows you to express your talent. It goes without saying that someone who’s constantly facing his limits cannot be very happy in his everyday life. Thus, it is important to work most of the time within your strengths rather than finding yourself in situations where you always need to improve your weaknesses.

It is often up to you to try a different perspective on your work and be on the lookout for projects that could highlight your potential. One of those projects is in the air? Take initiative and meet with your boss to get actively involved in the implementation and development of this project. Nothing is better than asserting your strengths to increase self-esteem, an essential to happiness at work.

Acknowledging your own value

Yes, the recognition of your contribution to the business can come from colleagues and boss. However, it must first come from you. Believing in the importance and value of what you do gives purpose to your work. It is then possible to touch the personal pride, the satisfaction of a job well done and the enthusiasm. If you appreciate your own value and your specific contribution, that feeling will be strengthened when your colleagues or your boss will show appreciation for your work.

You believe that your company does not grant enough space to formal recognition? Dare to set up a committee or organize a special appreciation activity among colleagues. Highlighting the successes among peers may have a bigger impact than the acknowledgement between the boss and the employee found during the annual evaluation.

Act on your happiness

Work, regardless of your title and tasks, can help you transcend your limits and assert your personality. Here are examples of actions or attitudes to implement to increase your happiness at work in your own way:

  • Write what you want to be or what would be your ideal job. Set goals related to this ideal and move on. Above all, work on it every day in a concrete way. You will see your energy level rise. Ditto for the feeling of power over your life.
  • As in your personal life, the workplace is another sphere to reveal attitudes and personal qualities that can cause a change in your journey. For example, you can empathize, offer active listening and demonstrate greater openness to change. And the action can be as simple as inviting a colleague who is going through a difficult situation for dinner. A healthy relationship with the environment enhances your daily life.
  • You are a creative person. So why let your creativity at the business door in the morning? We often keep repeating the same ways of doing things without questioning it. However, just looking at the situation in another way and taking initiative to change its settings can lead to a pleasant renewal. As a result, tasks that seemed repetitive and unappealing suddenly become a source of stimulation.
  • Finally, even if work has a big part in our lives, we should not overemphasize its influence. It must remain a sphere of your life where you can find accomplishment while earning your money, but it shouldn’t be the only sphere where you grow. Putting everything in perspective can already take away a lot of expectations-induced stress.

Nevertheless, several workplace studies have found that happy employees perform better. Because companies that pay attention to its employees’ well-being and fulfillment see a direct influence in their financial statements. Thus, it is possible to dream that, someday, companies will add a column to the financial statements of their annual report: the index of happiness at work.

In collaboration with Annie Boutet, editor.

Tracy-Ann Lugg

Regional Vice-President of Adecco

Mother of four children, Tracy is making  a gradual return to work (4 days a week) since her last maternity leave. She has been Regional Vice President at Adecco since 2004. She manages more than 100 HR professionals and 1,400 essentially temporary employees throughout Quebec. Tracy is sensitive to employee needs and new realities of the job market. Balancing work and personal life is part of her daily concerns for her employees. Adecco, 514-845-4255.

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