How to be happy at work

by Betty Lochner on November 15, 2010

If you want to be happy, be. – Leo Tolstoy

Face it. We spend a lot of time at work. In fact, many of us see more of our colleagues than our family during the work week.

Did you know that, according to a recent Gallup survey, not even half of working adults are completely satisfied with their jobs?  Less than half.  That means there’s a 50/50 chance that YOU aren’t all that happy at work.

Being happy at work (or anything for that matter) is a choice that you make.  You are the only one that is responsible for your happiness.  How you respond to your circumstances and how you choose to behave will contribute to whether you are in the group that is happy at work or not.  And, when you are a happier you,  you’ll start to see the positive instead of the negative responses around you. 

So to help you out with how to choose happy, I ‘ve compiled a list of my top 5 tips for how to be happier at work.

1. Set goals.

People are more satisfied if they have goals they are working on. So, even if your job is fairly consistent and predictable, set daily, weekly or even monthly goals for your progress. Push yourself to do something faster, better, or more efficiently. In other words, create your expectations!

2. Have fun

Work is work.  But, it doesn’t have to be boring and depressing. Be the one to plan a potluck or fundraiser and get everyone involved in making a difference in office morale!  When you connect with your co-workers in a non-business way, you’ll enjoy and appreciate them more.

3. Take a break

Don’t sit at your desk too long without taking a break.  Even a five minute walk around the building will clear your head and give you new perspective.  Make sure you take a lunch away from your desk.  Just seeing new scenery can make a healthy difference in how your day goes. And, bonus — you’ll be more productive too!

4. Take pride in your work.

Remember “it all pays the same”.  Whether you are collecting garbage, running errands, taking phone calls, or just sitting at a reception area – be the best darn person in that position at that time that you can be!  Don’t focus on what you think you should or would rather be doing, but do what you are asked to do in the very best way possible.

5. Show forgiveness.

Let go of past issues and disagreements with others.  Don’t hold a grudge.  It isn’t healthy and it won’t do anything but make you miserable. Get over it, move on and bury the hatchet.  It’s easier than you think – so just do it!

In short, being happy at work comes down to this: own your happiness.  You are the only one that can create or destroy your attitude at work.

Do you have other tips for being happy at work?   Please leave a comment and share them!


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.

To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine Morris December 30, 2010 at 4:29 am

I like the tips Betty! I agree it is about the decision to be happy and not focus on the negatives of a job. Working from home, I am very happy but need to set goals and expectations to stay organized and consistent – like anyone else!

2 Kimberly November 30, 2010 at 9:23 am

For my day job, I’ve learned to (1) be thankful that I have one, especially one that pays well, (2) have fun, I work with a great group of people, (3) not to take anything personally, because whenever anyone brings their bad mood to work, it has nothing to do with me even when it feels like it, and (4) I’m happy that my job is funding my dream of being a photographer!

Thanks for this fab post!!!

3 Norma Maxwell November 17, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Great advice, Betty. I work from home, so I am pretty happy most of the time…lol 🙂 But, I really have enjoyed working in an office environment in the past…these tips are essential to working well in that kind of environment, but most of them are also applicable for those of us who work solo most of the time. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Cheers ~Norma

4 Diane November 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

I think number 3 is really important for me. Just moving to a different place once in a while helps to clear my head.

Not getting involved in office politics is really important too. Cut out that negativity.

5 Dale Little November 17, 2010 at 11:11 am

Excellent tips…. and so easy to do! I’m going to post your list at my desk!

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