(Guest writer: Owen Andrew)
You can call it a secret, “life hack” or just common sense but happiness is the key to productivity. Being positive and satisfied can be one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve productivity in the workplace. Various studies have shown that you’re going to feel significantly less stress in day-to-day activities – in and outside of the workplace – from a positive change in attitude
Unfortunately for a lot of members of the workforce who spend their week behind a desk or counter, feeling happy and working productively don’t sound like they go hand in hand (even if they should). Take a look at the most stressed-out person in your office, likely wasting time staring out the window, grumbling at the computer, or floating from desk to desk.
They can have an effect on the entire office’s productivity. The sooner he or she can destress, the faster you can get those productivity rates higher.
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Removing stress from the office follows a simple formula: people who are not spending time stressed out and worrying have more time to be productive. Stress leads to wasted time and wasted energy, meaning an attitude adjustment can directly affect how work time is spent.
Choosing to Be Happier
While working towards a positive attitude is a simple idea, in theory, anyone who has tried to adjust their personality knows that simply flipping a mental switch isn’t possible most of the time. A Mayo Clinic study shows that a person’s level of happiness originates from his or her personality and the people with whom he or she spends time.
This means that not only does spending time around happy people make you happier but your own happy attitude can influence others.
Of course, the inverse is also true. Anyone who has experience in the workplace probably has seen this play out. Picking out the “slackers” in the building is often as easy as finding the table in the break room where the sarcastic complainers spend their time.
Their negative attitudes feed off each other, and can carry over well beyond break time, leading to unproductive hours spent at the desk. If you’ve ever had a job at which you were unhappy, chances are you – like me, at one point in my life – were spending time at the slacker table.
Make The Change
On the flip side, when you’re satisfied with your work situation, chances are that you’re going to spend time with others who share a similar outlook. The positive vibes shared at that new and improved break room table carry over when you return to the desk the exact same way.
Some other lifestyle changes that can help you become happier at work include:
People who are happier tend to be grateful for the things and opportunities they have. This affects productivity by making tasks inherently more satisfying. The grateful feeling that accompanies success will help build a positive experience, making you feel good about investing more time in your work to achieve even more success.
One way you can generate a better outlook on life is to maintain a positive attitude. Seeking the silver linings on even the tedious tasks that everyone has to do in the office will help you finish those tasks more quickly. Sometimes a positive attitude can lead to finding a new method for completing a monotonous task. For example, locating a new tool online or designing new workflow strategies can be the results of looking for a new outlook on old, repetitive tasks.
Finding A Purpose
To improve your level of productivity in the workplace, find work that is satisfying, which will naturally lead to a happier attitude in the office. Speaking from first-hand experience, it may take a few tries to find work that satisfies you. But don’t give up on yourself! Once you find a job where you’re able to see how your skills and tasks fit into the big picture though, you’ll be amazed at how the workday flies by!
Increasing productivity through a positive attitude also relies heavily on how well you interact with co-workers. Many studies show that employees who work together in teams will have greater success in their tasks and a greater ownership in the final product… as long as the teammates’ attitudes match, that is.
One of the biggest challenges a manager faces is creating the best possible teams within the workplace. Placing employees together who have no chance of working together successfully leads to unproductive workers. Pairing folks from the slacker table in the break room with one person from the positivity at the next table over is almost always a disaster, for example.
Taking the time to create teams, where the personalities mesh well, will almost certainly lead to more success and better workflow among all the team members.
Laughter Leads to Success
One of the ways managers can see whether teammates are working well together is measuring whether meetings involve a certain amount of laughter. People who laugh together create stronger bonds, allowing them to work together more closely and with better productivity.
Laughter can diffuse stressful situations, leading to a better flow of work throughout the office. Laughter counteracts problems created when you’re feeling an increase in your stress level, too.
Many of the same workflow benefits that happy people enjoy will apply to those who laugh on a regular basis, too. Of course, you should be careful: you don’t want your office turning into The Office.
Better Listeners Are Happy
Those who work together on a team also experience higher levels of success when they learn how to listen to each other. Good listeners will maintain eye contact with the speaker, avoiding glancing at cell phones or computer screens.
If you’ve ever felt like taking the cell phone of someone you’re speaking with and tossing it under the tire of the nearest truck, you likely understand the frustration of dealing with someone who’s a poor listener. Such distractions lead to mistakes and poor productivity levels.
When you use clues to show someone that you’re listening on a regular basis, they’ll be confident they’re not going to have to repeat themselves, which is sure to make everyone more efficient in the office. If you have to constantly fix problems caused by poor listening skills, productivity is going to crash to a halt.
Path To Productivity Paved With Happiness
All that stands between your workplace and new heights of productivity is you. Adjust your attitude now, and not only will you be a happier and more effective employee, but those around you – save maybe the most jaded and cynical – will follow suit.
Fortunately, by the time you’re flaunting your newfound aura of positivity, those who still stubbornly hold onto a deep-seated cynicism won’t feel like wasted potential. By then, you’ll know that they’re just missing out.
Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Owen Andrew, a writer and multimedia enthusiast based in Southern California. He is versed in social media, mobile platforms, and work productivity and on his free time enjoys attending EDM concerts and spending time with his children. You can reach him on Twitter.