5 Things That Build a Happy Work Environment

Becky Leighton

Posted: March 6, 2020

Table of Contents

We’re all chasing happiness, and it’s often considered a luxury to find joy in your job. The truth is, it can be really easy to get there with some simple adjustments to your workplace! Work will always come with stresses, but often it’s not our actual work that is making us unhappy or fatigued, but rather a dull and miserable office. 

20th March is the UN International Day of Happiness, and this year’s theme is ‘Happier Together’. Human beings are naturally social creatures, and we thrive in an environment that fosters happy and healthy relationships and interactions. It’s much easier to get out of bed and head to work when you know that you’re going to enjoy some good coffee with your co-workers and a productive feedback meeting with your boss.


Here are just a few ways to perk up your workspace and make every day a good day!

 1.     A Sense of Purpose

“Happiness is more than doing fun things. It’s about doing meaningful things.” 

Maxime Lagacé

Knowing that you’re making a change in the world when you step into your office can do wonders for your motivation and job satisfaction. If you struggle to find the meaning in your work, write out how your job affects you, the people around you and the community. The smallest thing can make the biggest change in your energy and approach. Even if you can’t think of any purpose beyond paying your rent and feeding your cat, hold on to that.

If you realise that you need to make a bigger impact with your work in order to find happiness, then strive for that and you’ll discover that happiness will find you. 

2.     Open Communication

Frequent and honest communication is vital for any healthy relationship, including those at work. Being able to admit when you’ve made a mistake, ask questions when you’re confused and openly express how you’re feeling are all signs of a properly-functioning organisation. Knowing that you can speak freely can decrease anxiety and deepen workplace relationships. If you are feeling depressed and are worried about meeting a deadline, talking to your boss will ease your nerves and give him or her the opportunity to learn more about you. An office that communicates is one that works happily and effectively.

3.     Meaningful Connections

Forming genuine connections and friendships at work is one of the best ways to make your workplace a happy one. Knowing that you will see friends when you go into work is a great way to put a spring in your step, plus you will have a support system that understands exactly what stresses and working conditions you’re dealing with. Something as simple as suggesting after-work happy hour or asking how someone’s weekend was can spark a friendship and make your office a slightly brighter place.

4.     Dynamic Spaces

Spaces grow to have mental associations when we use them for a specific purpose. If your desk is where you work, relax, take lunch and have coffee breaks then it becomes an environment that is ill-suited to all of the above. Do your best to segment the workplace into distinct areas so that your work and play are spatially separated. If you hit a mental block or find yourself overwhelmed by work, you can remove yourself from your desk and move to the break room or garden to make it easier for your brain to detach itself from a working mindset and destress. This allows you to enjoy proper breaks, and return to your work refreshed. 

5.     Perk Things Up

The little things can end up making a big difference, so let your inner Pinterest-lover loose and spruce up your desk! Adding photographs, plants, a good-looking calendar, and other aesthetically-pleasing décor can really help to make your workspace a mini-home. It may not inspire you to race to the office, but it will certainly make your day better once you’re there. You will often find that the state of your room or desk is a reflection of where your mind is at (and vice versa), so creating a space that you are proud of and enjoy maintaining is a great step towards a good mental state. As a bonus conversation starter, add a jar of snacks that anyone is welcome to – you will have to sacrifice snacks, but you will gain friends, which is (almost) always worth it!

Happiness doesn’t always come easy, especially in the workplace where there will always be stresses, conflicts and frustrations. But whether you are an employer or an employee, implementing these small changes in your office can help to build a sense of community, take the edge off and make your workspace a less daunting and, ultimately, more productive environment. 

Once you’ve created a happy, healthy workspace, you’re ready to take on a new challenge and elevate your professional capacity! If you’re looking to transform your career, a great place to start is by expanding your knowledge and honing your skills with an online short course.  

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