What does it take to be happy at work?

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls,
updated on Mar 15, 2023

What does it take to be happy at work?

New research uncovers the happiest (and unhappiest) industries to work in based on these key factors

Being happy at work is something many of us strive for. We spend a lot of time at work, so anything that can help us enjoy this time is welcome. Knowing what it takes to feel happy at work can help us on this mission as we figure out what’s working, and what’s not working for us at work.

Recently, SEO company Reboot Online surveyed 2,500 professionals from 29 different industries to find out which industry had the happiest workers. To determine their happiness, Reboot Online took seven factors into consideration, leading to an overall job happiness score for each industry.

The industry that scored the highest happiness score was science and pharmaceuticals (91.93), followed by creative arts and design (83.81), and then environment and agriculture (80.96). On the other end of the spectrum, energy and utilities scored the lowest (9.50), with sales (10.49), and call centre/customer service (11.91) not far behind.

So, what factors were looked into when creating this happiness score, and how can we use these as signposts to our own job satisfaction?

1. Positive impact on others

Considering the impact your work has on others and knowing that impact is positive can go a long way in helping us feel content at work. If this is something you’re unsure of right now, you might want to explore the idea of job crafting, where you can use certain tools to help your job ‘fit’ better with your values. Learn more about what job crafting entails and how it could help you find more meaning in your work.

2. Career prospects

For a lot of us, knowing there is some forward motion in our careers is key. An easy first step here could be to use your imagination.

“Find your imagination and create a vision of your ideal career,” says career coach and author Tessa Armstrong. “By allowing yourself to imagine your ideal career, you will give yourself the best chance of achieving the best career for you.”

Read more of Tessa’s advice on progressing in your career when you’re feeling lost.

3. Employee empowerment

Feeling empowered at work can help us feel in control not only of our days but also of our careers. Ways we might feel empowered include having ownership of certain projects, being trusted with our own schedule/time, and knowing our voices are heard and listened to.

If this feels like something you’re missing in your work, try speaking to your manager to find ways you can take on more ownership in your role, gain some autonomy and feel more empowered.

4. Work relationships

If relationships at work are strained, it can really take its toll on our sense of happiness. We may not always be able to be best buds with everyone we work with, but there are steps we can take to improve these relationships. Not sure where to start? Take a look at executive coach Aaron Jude McCarthy’s thoughts on improving workplace relationships.

5. Mental health benefits

The importance of mental health has come into sharp focus in recent years, so it makes sense that a key factor in being happy at work is knowing mental health support is available. Speak to your manager or HR about any mental health benefits, including employee assistance programmes (EAPs).

6. Salary

With the cost of living rising, being fairly compensated for our work is becoming ever more important. If this is an area you need to address, you may want to consider negotiating a higher salary or even considering a change of direction in your career.

7. Work culture

Enjoying a positive work culture can make a world of difference when it comes to how happy we are at work. Of course, this isn’t the case for some, who may describe their work culture as toxic. Learn more about what this can look like and how to tackle a toxic workplace.

If you’re looking for support on any of these factors or are considering a career change, you might find it helpful to work with a coach. Learn more and find a career coach today at Life Coach Directory.

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