Gallup's 2017 employee report revealed grim news for American workplace happiness and engagement. Just one-third of employees were found to be engaged by their job, and only 15 percent of employees "strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future."
Such widespread levels of dissatisfaction indicate many aren't happy with their workplace environment. Even those who are could likely work on enjoying what they do more.
If you're not a high-level executive at the business, many of the factors leading to employee unhappiness are out of your control. These may include managerial leadership or day-to-day employee duties. Therefore, the most productive thing you can do is alter the factors around workplace happiness that are in your power to change.
To that end, try this one mindset shift you can make each day when you go into work in order to be more energetic, productive, and optimistic about what you're doing:
Remember your "why."
You're at work because you chose to be there, right?
Each day before you go into the office, think about why you're doing it. Recalling this will force you to consider your motivations for putting yourself in that position initially.
Ideally, you chose to work at your company, or to start your business because you enjoy what you do. Rediscovering those roots and initial motivations can re-inspire you all over again.
I remember in one recent job how my daily work began to feel monotonous and forced. My energy was decreasing by the day until I began to remember why I was there in the first place. I enjoyed the industry. I wanted to learn more about my specific job duties. I was inspired by my co-workers, and I wanted to make an impact on the world by helping people.
Taking stock of my motivations helped me take initiative in my work and refocus energy towards accomplishing my initial goals. I took a step back from my daily tasks and remembered what I wanted out of my experience.
Then, I brainstormed ways to achieve those goals. It resulted in a more conscious effort to get to know and learn from my coworkers. I helped lead efforts to make this a company-wide initiative. We threw birthday parties and company lunches. Teams started doing morning "stand-up" meetings. We even held a retreat that brought us closer, and got us more in touch with company goals.
It really changes the way you think about happiness.
This reinvigorated me, skyrocketed my happiness and made me much more productive day in and day out. I shifted my work from being a means to an end into a creative, self-driven endeavor.
I was spending 40-50 hours in the office a week anyway. I had a choice. I could go in and daydream, get frustrated and wait for the day to end. Or, I could take initiative and control of my situation, make the most of what I had, and tap into what got me there in the first place.
Taking this step back is challenging given the requirements of day-to-day life, in and out of the office. It's made even tougher because this broad view could reveal that you've not been making the most out of your time. This is not something a lot of people want to face up to.
That being said, reverting back to your "why" will help reorient you to what got you started. Giving yourself this frequent check-in each day or week will ground you and empower you to capitalize on any new opportunities that come your way.
As you are beginning to rediscover this energy, you should do what you can to pass it over to your employees or coworkers. They will be able to feed off your energy. Helping them find and remember their own "why" will boost their happiness and productivity too, a "win win" for everyone involved.
If you can't remember or no longer believe in your why, it's time for change.
If it feels like you're forced to be at your job at times, consider moving. If you really wanted to, you almost certainly could. Keep in mind, you might make less money or have a longer commute, but there are countless existing work options out there.
If you no longer believe in what got you excited about your job in the first place, it could be time to begin thinking about something new.
It's a challenging realization and endeavor to grapple with, but if nothing has the chance of getting you energized again about the work you're doing - not your team, the product, or your customers - then you might need change. Going back to your "why" will make this clear.