How to be happy at work

Is it possibly to be content at work or is it just a myth?

As everybody knows there are good days and bad days in every job and for some people the bad days never seem to stop coming while others are thriving and loving it. But in this modern world where we work more than ever have we lost our ability to be content at work or is there something underpinning our ability to enjoy ourselves? Obviously it would be ridiculous to say that everybody should and can be happy where they work but it has become clear over recent years that people are not necessarily looking for pastures new because they are really in need to but rather because they actually want to. The reasoning behind this desire to change has often been questioned by employment psychologists and it has been suggested that modern people are becoming reliant on immediate satisfaction i.e. the ability to do, see or buy what they want and when they want, and yet this answer does not quite seem to balance with other studies.

So what exactly is the problem with modern jobs?

In a recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development or CIPD it was discovered that there seems to be a climate of itchy feet where people feel compelled to look for something else because overall employment satisfaction is lower than ever. Further to this, of the two thousand employed people they questioned, almost a quarter of them were actively looking for another job. When inquiring into the reasoning behind this they found that just under a quarter of employees feel that they way their performance is monitored and process of performance versus advancement was simply unworkable or unfair. Second on the list with almost a third of employees listing it was their job's ability to provide advancement of skills and overall career development. In the modern workplace career development has become one of the hot button topics in regards to career satisfaction. Lastly on the list but by no means least is whether employees felt that they could attain their career goals and aspirations at their current place of work. Disappointingly for employers more than a third stated that this would not be possibly in their current position which would lead to an inevitable career move.

But before all the doom and gloom merchants get on against the modern business world it should be highlighted that while job satisfaction may be low and job seeking high the actual balance of happy to unhappy people is firmly on the side of the happy at a 41%-36% ratio.

Can job satisfaction be increased or are we doomed to an inevitable move?

What has been a surprising revelation to the whole topic is that pay has not yet been mentioned and while we are seen as a somewhat materialistic people the fact is that our needs are for the most part being fulfilled, and yet, it is not making people any happier at work.

The simple fact is that in the ever-changing job market there are numerous factors that impact our needs which change with the market but also with cultural attitudes towards work.

A study conducted by a top job search website which involved a couple of hundred thousand people and a hundred and eighty nine countries (Let's just say that this study was pretty conclusive) showed us the secrets of finding that elusive satisfaction, or at least a way to be closer to is not necessarily through more pay but rather with the simpler ideas. Below are the top five factors that people are actually looking for and if you don't have these where you work then it could be why you don't feel content:

  • Being appreciated for all your hard work. It may seem like such a simple idea but many employees do go under-appreciated at work. While not always the easiest issue to solve if you do find yourself in this kind of position then make sure you start the process by congratulating a colleague and bringing their hard work to light, perhaps they will return the favour, and if not then perhaps it is time for a quiet word with your manager. Either way it is the number one issue for lowered job satisfaction.
  • Having good working relations. It goes without saying that there is no "I" in team and it is far more true that most suspect. Being in and feeling like part of a team makes for a strong work environment which is vastly more productive than a non-cohesive one.
  • Finding that work-life mix that satisfies all your personal needs. Of all the needs this can actually be the toughest for an employer to fix as everyone's needs vary and there are limitations on the flexibility of job positions. But that being said if you can find a way to get the perfect balance then you may find your satisfaction skyrocket.
  • Feeling like your bosses are part of the team. If your boss is not the person to help you out then I don't know who is. Having communicative and helpful superiors is simply a must if you want a good working environment.
  • Knowing the company you work for is viable. There is nothing more concerning than wondering if you company is going to fold at some point in the near future which means that open communication about the stability of the company is vital in both building that elusive trust and keeping staff content.

So whether you are an employer or an employee if you can find a way to increase these simple points they your work environment could see a dramatic shift from "yeah, they get the job done I suppose" to "Wow! What a team!"

If you are looking for the rest of the satisfaction list then look no further than below as we have it right here for you.


  • Being appreciated for all your hard work
  • Having good working relations
  • Finding that work-life mix that satisfies all your personal needs
  • Feeling like your bosses are part of the team
  • Knowing the company you work for is viable
  • Being able to fulfill you career aspirations
  • Knowing your job is going to be there for a long time to come
  • Good remuneration (yes we finally mentioned it)
  • Having a position that is interesting
  • Knowing the company is a caring one
  • The ability to travel
  • Variable ways of working (including shifts and flexible times)
  • Added bonuses like health care and pensions
  • Schemes to support families (including time off and pay)
  • The keys to a company vehicle

Less Vital