Every year Compensation Cafe gets an impressively spiked peak in readership for Becky Regan's 2010 Valentine's Day post, "5 Simple, Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Work." Now it's time to have your own fun.
Why not give yourself the gift of trying out the top five proven ways to be happier, plus a tasty bonus, in the comfort of your own cubicle? Here we go:
Do things for others. Research has proven that when we make others happy, we feel good ourselves. Now that doesn't mean that you should become a slave to your colleagues' requests -- a proven path to misery. But it can mean a lot of simple things including chatting with a struggling team member or volunteering for an action item that has left the team silent in your latest meeting. Look at this strategically, too. What can you do for your managers and employees that you've been avoiding? Try eating lunch with a few to find out what they have in mind.
Connect with people. You're on your way up in your profession. It's satisfying to earn success through hard work. Recognize that research shows that the work you put into maintaining connections with other human beings offers even more probability of long-term happiness. You can reserve that insight for your family and friends, or you can notice that it applies to your work as well. Compensation professionals have a habit of huddling up with EXCEL for days at a time. You'll feel more satisfaction if you add the intentional goal of building strong and then stronger relationships with colleagues AND with your stakeholders.
Take a positive approach. Here's a proven, simple technique. No matter what your mood on a given day, act like an extrovert. Even if you are, or feel like, an introvert. The findings on this one come from research in five countries that have immensely different cultures -- the U.S., China, Japan, Venezuela and the Philippines. Across the board, they report that acting in an extroverted way gave them a boost of happiness.
Notice the world around you. At work that often translates into being intentional about using your time in the best way. Don't have the energy to go there? Take a short break every hour to refresh yourself. It's a habit that's proven to work and pay dividends. Also take on challenging projects or study up on new strategies -- your mind needs stretching as much as your body does.
Be part of something bigger. Your employees have been telling you this for years. They are longing to understand how they contribute to the company, so they can feel more useful and be creative. Your own happiness will benefit by listening to their requests and you'll become part of something bigger, too.
Chocolate. Harvard Health and the Mayo Clinic both say that the mood enhancing claims for dark chocolate are on the iffy side. Then they suggest if you eat your 1 oz. of dark chocolate, be sure to make it no less than 70% cacao -- a mixed message that can be anxiety producing to those of us who'd like straightforward permission to grab a brownie! Since the jury is still out, I say if it tastes great and may improve your mood after a soul crushing meeting (and possibly improve risk factors for heart disease and diabetes), have one square or two. Another plus, the higher the cacao percentage in a chocolate, the lower the sugar content!
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP brings deep expertise to discussions on employee pay, performance management, career paths and communications at the Café. Her firm, re:Think Consulting, provides services that include market pay information, base salary structures, incentive plan design, career paths and new plan implementation. Margaret is a Board member of the Bay Area Compensation Association (BACA). Earlier, she was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson. Margaret coauthored the popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communications, which can be found @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication.