Be happy at work pick your colleagues wisely

Written by
Kirstie Mackey

14 Sep 2015

14 Sep 2015 • by Kirstie Mackey

The key to productivity

Earlier this year, we held our latest Barclays debate on the topic of youth unemployment. Our aim was to bring together an expert panel to discuss how we should be helping young people find work and to argue the proposition that for young people to “do what they love” is a dangerous modern myth. As a corollary, we looked at the question: what does make us happy at work? With the average person set to spend 90,000* hours there in their lifetime, it’s vital that we enjoy it. So, we asked 2,000 people what they love about their work. The results might surprise you.

  1. I get on well with my colleagues (26%) – Work brings together people of many different backgrounds, ages and talents. We obviously don’t often choose our colleagues, but as we’ll spend more waking time with them than our family, it’s important to get along, as this leads to leads to greater cooperation and stronger teamwork. Not only that, but being able to work with large teams of people from different backgrounds is set to be an increasingly important skill to employers**
  2. I have a good work life balance (24%) – Most of us feel  that having a good work life balance will make us happier and therefore perform better while we’re at work. This can be difficult when you’re busy, but, it’s important to review your workload realistically. If you are consistently not able to complete it within work hours, it’s important to raise this with you manager. This is not a sign of weakness, rather it shows you are responsible and aware of the work which needs to be done.
  3. It’s something I believe in (21%) – This is something Belinda Parmar, CEO of Lady Geek, discussed during our debate by saying “Do what you believe in, not what you love, because belief is a more sustainable route to happiness.” ‘Doing what you believe in’ could mean that your company’s aims align with your own or that your role helps to make a difference to the company. If there’s something you’re passionate about and would like to change, try taking a proposal on how you can manage that change to your boss. Not only will it show that you’re motivated, but it could also allow you to do something you’re passionate about within your role.
  4. I think what I do is useful (20%) and I get to use my brain (20%) – Understanding how what you do feeds into what your company is trying to achieve will not only show you the real value that you offer,  but will also give you an extra layer of insight into your day-to-day tasks. Being challenged can also be a really important part of not being bored at work. While some jobs by their nature may be repetitive, there are ways you can expand your role. For example, you could offer to help other teams with projects or design new, more efficient processes for tasks you complete regularly.
  5. There is a good atmosphere in the office (17%) – People who are happy with their work environment have been proven to be more productive and make fewer mistakes***. There are many ways this can be achieved, but two are to increase open plan work spaces to allow people to interact more frequently, and encourage social events where colleagues can get together on a more informal basis, away from their desks. Just as negativity is contagious, so is positivity.

* Happiness at Work, Psychology Today
** Future Work Skills 2020
*** Robert Half International Inc.