Feel happier at work – 7 ways to have a more positive work experience.


A common reason for people coming into coaching is because they are unhappy or unsatisfied with some aspect of their work and they want to change jobs or careers.

Sometimes changing jobs or career is not the answer.  Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective – looking at your job in a different way or resolving a relationship issue with a colleague.

However, even if you have decided that you want to leave your current work, being positive about it now will help you to make a smoother transition.  You will be  building instead of burning bridges,  you will be leaving a good impression behind which will help with references,  and feeling positive and happy can help you be successful in your future job search.

In addition,  a recent study by psychology researchers at a Kansas State University shows that employees who have a positive experience at work and are invigorated, dedicated  and engaged in what they are doing, carry over their feelings into their home life. This in turn leads them to have better moods and a more satisfying and happier home life because they feel more able to have healthier family interactions. *

Satoris Culbertson, assistant professor of psychology of the K-State research group said: “Our research indicated that individuals who were engaged in positive experiences at work and who shared those experiences with significant others perceived themselves as better able to deal with issues at home, became better companions and became more effective overall in the home environment.”

The ‘engagement’  Professor Culbertson refers to is positive work involvement and not negative forms of job involvement like being a workaholic or work addict.

Here are 7 ways to help you to have a more positive work experience:

1.  Think about what you have to be grateful for in your current work.

Thinking about things you are grateful for can help you to focus on abundance and not lack.  Take a piece of paper and write down everything you have to be grateful for in your current job. It could be good working hours,  helpful and friendly colleagues,  interesting work,  a great boss,  easy commute,  great canteen,  or having met the love of your life at the water-cooler.  Every day spend a few moments thinking about an aspect of your current work that you are grateful for.

2.  Make a list of everything your current work gives you.

Your current work could give you a sense of purpose, have wonderful learning opportunities, the opportunity to travel,  work experience in your area of interest, great training,  a way to keep you physically and mentally active or give you enough money to enable you to pay bills, buy food, develop a hobby or interest.  One of my early jobs was working for the BBC in radio production.  The money was by no means good and to begin with I had to take a second job in a pub to make ends meet, however I loved the creative, fun atmosphere of working in radio and it gave me a sense of being involved in often quite special and unique events.  So although having money is good, it might not necessarily be the most important factor when it comes down to job satisfaction.

3. Think about the things you enjoy in your present job.

Think about the activities and tasks you enjoy doing in your current job and also think about the people you enjoy working with and the skills you enjoy using.  Another important aspect is to consider what personal values are being honoured in this role – such as creativity, being of service, being respected.  What else?

4. Think about the things you are achieving at work now.

Think about the things you are proud of or you enjoyed doing or were especially difficult to do but you did it anyway.  Think of  things that often go unacknowledged,  such as going out of your way to help a customer or colleague,  being good at raising morale within a team,  generating new ideas which lead to new improved levels of service or a better standard of product.

5. Think about how you could be more engaged at work.

Some of the ways you can become more engaged is no matter what your job is, resolve to do it to the best of your ability. Take pride in your work,  contribute positively, become a problem solver, commit to excellence, walk your talk.  This doesn’t mean you take on so many tasks that you become overwhelmed and burn out.  If this is the case then see, point 6 below.

6. Think about one thing you could improve in your current job.  What would it be?

If there is one thing you could improve in your current work then you probably already know what it is.  Is there anything stopping you from taking action?  What will you gain if the improvement happened?  What needs to happen to resolve it?

7. Look for opportunities to develop your role at work.

Take an active approach in developing your role at work to make it more interesting and engaging.  Are there training courses you could go on to help you to reach the next level?  What about self-funded external training to gain new skills to create an opportunity for yourself in your current job or make it more manageable?  Do you have an area of ability that could give you a unique role in your place of work?   If you are self employed what needs to happen to keep up your level of interest and engagement?

Do you find that your experience at work affects your home life?  How do you cope?  Do you have any techniques to share?

Other related posts:

Is it time to leave your job?

4 Methods to help you to feel happier

Career Coaching Programme

Special note for Employers:

Assistant Professor Culbertson said:  “organisations could build on these findings and intervene in the workplace. She said that it is important for organisations to help employees balance their work and personal lives. Prior research has shown that people who report high levels of work-family conflict tend to also report experiencing lower job satisfaction, poorer health, lower job performance and a greater likelihood of leaving the organisation. Thus, helping employees helps the organisation”.

If you feel that others may benefit from or be interested in this post please share it using the button below. Many thanks.

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* The K-State research group included Clive Fullagar, professor of psychology; Satoris Culbertson, assistant professor of psychology; and Maura Mills, graduate student in psychology, Manhattan. They presented the research in April 2009 at the annual conference for Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in New Orleans. The study was partially funded by K-State’s Center for Engagement and Community Development.


~ by Sandstorm on September 9, 2009.

4 Responses to “Feel happier at work – 7 ways to have a more positive work experience.”

  1. Great article and very timely for me as I am still in one job while trying to move towards self-employment. I think this point is really valuable:

    “However, even if you think you’ll be leaving your present work, being positive about it now will help you to make a smoother transition by building instead of burning bridges, leaving a good impression behind and maintaining your energy levels while you look for something new.”

    (Actually, that was from your newsletter and I think the wording is a bit different above but it makes a similar point.)

    Many thanks

  2. Hi Lucy,

    Nice to hear from you. I think if you’re becoming self-employed then it’s good to build up a network of supportive people around you. You never know it could be that the colleagues you leave behind may become your first customers! or may know people to refer to you. And in any case it’s nice to go out on a high. 🙂 All the best Janice

  3. Good article. Thanks. I’m hoping employers will read the statement at the end and realise that treating staff well leads to more productivity.

  4. Hi Caspar,

    Good to have you view point. Yes, beating people with a stick rarely helps in the long run. Much better to make work not like ‘work’ to help motivate others and raise morale.

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