Simple workplace happiness hacks

When you think of finding happiness at work, you might picture a promotion, more rewarding project, or achieving your ultimate job goal. Yet what if we were to tell you that there are some simple steps you can take to make your current job at least a little happier? Not only that, but you could also bring happiness to your colleagues and/or employees by executing this newfound knowledge…

The recent Office Happiness Index suggests that this is indeed the case.

HR News shared the Index findings, also revealing that 75% of workers feel happy at work.

The leading happiness hacks are:

  1. Saying ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ to colleagues. Receiving such acknowledgement from bosses and clients tops the list for 85% of professionals. However, we can all show our appreciation whatever our job role.
  2. Taking your lunch-break and encouraging others to do the same. Despite this being ranked the second happiest moment of each working week, we know that so many people aren’t taking their breaks. Managers need to ensure their team feels able to do so, finding ways to reduce strain where needed. Top tip: booking a temp can relieve a lot of pressure in periods of high demand/workload.
  3. Treating your colleagues to cakes, pastries, or similar. This simple gesture wins over 80% of people, plus it can be combined with the next most popular happiness hack…
  4. Asking someone how their weekend went. Even better, ask someone you don’t always chat with.
  5. Finding a way to fix that faulty piece of office equipment. A moment of bliss, according to 73% of participants!

You can also beat the biggest pet peeves by…

  1. Doing point 5. above! Yes, this leads the list of office peeves, so prioritise the fix (or find someone who can!).
  2. Checking your emails and comments for all hints of the ‘passive aggressive!’ It’s easy to let personal stresses spill into your comms with your colleagues, yet it’s certainly not the way to vent your concerns or win people over.
  3. Avoiding unnecessary meetings. If you’re calling a meeting, make sure it has a clear purpose and timeframe and only invite those who really need to be there.
  4. Cleaning your crockery! Dirty coffee mugs and cutlery left on desks are considered the bane of office life for 65% of workers. Get in the habit of clearing as you go – and win yourself some brownie points by offering to lend a hand to an even busier team member!
  5. Considering your temperature needs. It’s hard to make everyone happy with this one. What’s comfortably warm for one is irritatingly chilly for another…and yet far too hot for someone else. Wearing layers can help, plus asking around before you fiddle with the thermostat or whip open the windows. Managers should also consider the team’s individual seating and supply needs.

Talking of seating and supplies, the article also shares insights regarding the types of offices that create the most happiness.

In other happiness news…

The UK is considered one of the 30 happiest countries in the world. However, it scored 19th place and only just made the list when it came to work-life balance (28th). This was despite coming in the top 10 for salaries (9th). The top three happiest countries each had higher work-life balance scores than the UK’s:

  • Happiest nation: Finland (11th for work-life balance)
  • 2nd happiest: Norway (7th)
  • 3rd happiest: Denmark: (4th)

Elsewhere, it was reported that males born between the mid-1960s to early-1980s are the least happy working group. Public sector workers and those paid hourly as opposed to by salary also fared worse on their happiness scores.

Ready for the challenge of a new role? Check out the latest jobs in Bath & Somerset. You can also use these tips to take your job search to an expert level!

How EQ could enhance your salary!

Why one particular year-old study could inspire you to work on your EQ! 

We recently saw a Guardian career piece pop up as a recommended read. The piece claimed that EQ (AKA ’emotional intelligence’ or ‘EI’) could be ‘the secret to a high salary’.

In order to reach this conclusion, the Amercian study explored students’ emotional intelligence and then tracked their career path over the coming decade. As you can gather from the above, the students with the greatest EI also had higher incomes.

How EQ increases earnings…

Essentially, the salary effect is achieved by understanding how others are feeling and then using this to ‘accurately motivate and influence their behaviour’. Although the idea of influencing others may sound sinister, it can also be highly positive.

The research showed that people with high emotional intelligence make many friends in their work, allowing them to tap into a wider knowledge base, which boosts their performance (and salary!).

It also proved positive from a people management/mentoring perspective, as high EQ workers are more attuned to the needs and feelings of others. Helping employees and mentees feel ‘heard’.

How is emotional intelligence actually defined?

You’ll find a full definition here. Really, it comes down to being self-aware and able to identify and help manage emotions – both your own and those of others.

Wondering how high your EQ is?

There’s no single specific EI test. However, Pyschology Today offers a fairly comprehensive free emotional intelligence test. They predict this takes around 45-minutes to complete. At the end of it, you then receive a percentage score and a brief overview; without so much as entering a name or email address. Anyone wanting to receive a full report with advice can then pay around $10 for it.

This isn’t to say everyone’s onboard with the EI-salary connection…

If you take another look at the original Guardian article, you’ll see it’s received over 90 comments. Many of which are highlighting the successes of people with questionable emotional intelligence levels!

There’s certainly truth in this, however, what’s the harm in working on your own EQ levels? Even if it doesn’t immediately (or ever directly!) increase your income, it offers many benefits.

Forbes discusses some of these.

Further reading for furthering your emotional intelligence!

  1. In a separate Forbes post, they share 5 ways to develop your EQ.
  2. Medium has an interesting question-filled article to help you to work towards a greater score.
  3. Balance also shared 9 useful steps.

One final EQ tip…read more and read differently!

Don’t only read the research and news articles that strike you as immediately relevant to your life. Get in the habit of seeing what’s happening in the world, and what other demographics are saying and feeling.

Recruitment news makes for a perfect example! There are so many studies which highlight what matters most to employees and employers, what professionals fear or strive for, the similarities and differences between different groups, and the steps we can all take to reach our goals. We publish many such stories on our News blog. Why not pick a post that you wouldn’t usually read and spend some time considering the emotions experienced by the news item/study subjects, how you feel throughout, and how you would express yourself in the given situation?

Get in the habit of doing this often and let it extend to the audio and social media that you also consume.

How to bond with your colleagues

Expert tips to help you bond with your colleagues; whether those colleagues are new or longstanding!

In this case, let’s consider bonding as ‘getting on well enough with your colleagues that you can all do an excellent job; without colleagues becoming an unnecessary source of stress in your life!’ In other words, this isn’t about becoming the best of friends (and would that even be a good idea? Read the debate here!)…

Tip 1: have compassion

We’ll come to some more straightforward advice in a sec. However, we couldn’t possibly overlook this great concept from (the all-around experts of business and career development!) Harvard Business Review.

At the crux of their argument, a desire to connect is an essential part of our human nature. And, at the heart of our human connection, you’ll always find compassion.

They break compassion down into 4 aspects: noticing someone else’s distress; placing importance on this; feeling concerned about that person/the rest of the group, and then doing something to help.

For example, you spot that your colleague is swamped with work and beginning to panic. You empathise with this, knowing exactly how challenging you’d find it yourself. You’re worried that this person won’t be able to carry out their normal duties, and you…

  • Offer to take something on yourself
  • Stay late to help them prioritise their tasks
  • Make them a cup of tea and take phone messages on their behalf…or similar!

This is a simple example – you’ll find more recommendations on each step here.

Tip 2: be less vague!

This one also comes from Harvard Business Review, although from a little snippet of an article on being a better colleague.

Here’s a reminder of the need to make your meaning clear so that your fellow workers don’t have to waste their time worrying about your intentions.

What’s ‘to the point’ to you, may come across as abrupt/hostile to them. So, read this and remember to pause for a mo before you next hit send/put the phone down.

Tip 3: all the tips!

If you only want to read one article on this topic, you’ll probably find this one handy. As usual, Lifehack manages to break the subject down into achievable habits that you can test out in your new or current job.

They’re the sort of simple pointers that won’t take long yet that we can all too easily forget.

Tip 4: say yes, at least some of the time…

What better way to bond with your colleagues than to do so away from the confines (and conversations!) of your daily work? This is the attitude of the team at The Muse. Along with all the other teams you’ll spot around the city after office hours!

Of course, this step is easier to achieve when you’ve established some bond. Yet that bond has to start somewhere, so consider saying yes to the next invite!

Tip 5: remember the first-day rule?

This tip only really applies to the new starters. Or to projects with entirely new teams. It’s a conversation originally inspired by the Independent’s advice on ‘the one thing you shouldn’t do when starting a new job’. We’ve added our thoughts and would be interested to hear yours.

You can share your top features and thoughts via social: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn 

The secret of success: for job-seekers, colleagues, managers & bosses!

Looking for success in your career? One of the recruitment industry’s leading figures may have shared the secret to this!

The TEDx Talk behind this conversation…

We have today shared a link to Kevin Green’s TEDx Talk, ‘why our jobs matter now more than ever’. It’s an 18-minute clip and we’d urge you to watch it in full when you get a mo.

Kevin Green is the outgoing chief executive of our accrediting body, the REC. Green has done so much to champion the recruitment and employment market over the past decade; he has kindly shared some of his many insights on the future of jobs (and how we can get ahead of AI technology!) with TedX.

We don’t want to say too much about the talk as we want you to watch it yourselves! However, there’s one quote that we specifically want to discuss today…

“Lifelong learning is a dream worth doing.” – Kevin Green

If there’s such a thing as the secret to success, this is surely it. Especially at this point in time.

Lifelong learning for success as a job-seeker: 

This quote perfectly chimes with our recent discussions around the future of jobs. Particularly our increasing need to ‘re-skill’. Remember the fact that reskilling 70% of workers could create 48 possible career paths (as opposed to the present 3)?

We’ve also recently discussed the specific career skills that we’ll need by 2020. The ability to be a lifelong learner will not only help you increase these, yet it directly fits the fifth skill on the list – cognitive abilities. The more we train ourselves to learn, the stronger our learning pathways become.

Beyond this, the notion of continual learning also ties in well with the research elements that are so essential to our Job Hunting tips and Personal branding suggestions.

To this end, putting more focus on continued personal learning could not only increase your suitability for future jobs yet also make them easier to find and apply for. This isn’t to say you have to hotfoot it back to university. Learning can also be done for free and in your spare time through books, online courses, local workshops/seminars, and more. A great topic for another day!

Lifelong learning for success as a colleague & employee:

First up, let’s not forget that the majority of current colleagues/employees are also future job-seekers. To this end, all of the above also applies to you!

However, in the meantime, there are other direct benefits to adopting a lifelong learning mindset.

In your capacity as an employee, you’ll routinely demonstrate the fact you have the ability to learn. Which, as Harvard Business Review explains, is a wonderful attribute when it comes to increased responsibility and/or promotion time!

It also helps keep your work fresh and engaging, which is far more motivating on a day-to-day basis.

Furthermore, the more that you learn the more you can support your colleagues. And the more you do this, the more benefits tend to come back to you! Of course, you can also help your colleagues learn something new for extra benefits all around..!

Lifelong learning for success as a manager &/or boss:

Once again, many of you will look for a new role at some point in the future, so the job-seeker section is of relevance. Plus the benefits for colleagues will also frequently apply!

Alongside this, you’re in the powerful position of being able to encourage lifelong learning in others while also furthering your own education. Both are incredibly worthwhile.

The TEDx talk shows us why this is vital for current and future working generations. Nurturing your team’s personal development will help make them feel recognised and valued. Something that is so central to your staff retention rates.

It could also be used alongside an increased focus on workplace experimentation – which employees are crying out for throughout the land!

Just think how much each element could contribute to your business development and success. Plus, on a personal level, you have the opportunity to garner so many new skills that will enhance your performance as a workplace leader (and we all know how much poor management has been in the news of late!).

Keep on learning…

We hope you’ll all keep Kevin Green’s quote in your mind this week as you look to learn something new. Let us know what you’re learning about – tag @appoint_recruit on Twitter & hashtag #lifelonglearning.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Kevin Green for all of his wonderful work to date – and wish him all the best for his next steps!

Should colleagues be friends?

How well do you need to get on with your co-workers? Should your colleagues be friends?

Over the past six months, this topic has formed multiple posts on Stylist magazine. We’ve linked these below (however, warning, some of their ads feature auto-play video).

It’s not just Stylist discussing this topic. In fact we’ve seen it raised by an assortment of news sites, lifestyle magazines and even Mumsnet.

Why is this such a conversation starter?

Most likely because the question of whether our colleagues should be friends is a complex one. Plus, at the same time, it’s a scenario that we can encounter on an almost daily basis.

To summarise what we’ve read so far:

  • Many people feel the pressure to make friends with colleagues simply due to the sheer amount of time they spend together.
  • Yet for many others, this is just a natural human bonding process and one that can run pretty deep. To the extent that it’s led to the buzzword and hashtag ‘Work Wife’.
  • Working alongside your closest friends can actually lead to better results, with studies suggesting our performance is improved through these trusting relationships.
  • That said, issues can naturally arise when friendships face difficulties and/or personal boundaries are crossed. One example described the moment a colleague confided in them about their affair with another team member. Another, the situation when a former ‘best friend’ threatened to reveal private WhatsApp messages regarding a host of work complaints.
  • Unsurprisingly, findings suggest that it’s easier to disagree with ‘non-friend’ colleagues on a day-to-day (i.e. work project!) basis. And that the ramifications of falling out with a close friend at work can be disastrous. So much so, people leave roles as a result.
  • But these are worst-case scenarios. And, on the whole, working with friends can generally make us feel good. When you’re waking up to a fresh 40-hour week, who doesn’t want that?!

So, what does this all really tell us?

That essentially there’s no set answer to this question! Actor Kim Cattrall put it well: “no, colleagues don’t need to be friends; you can just come together and do a job well and then part without guilt”.

We like this quote on several levels. Firstly, the use of the word ‘need’. If you’ve naturally become good friends and work well together, then that’s great. Yet this is by no means compulsory and it doesn’t make you a bad employee or colleague if you don’t experience this.

The main thing we draw from this quote (and the conversation in general) is how essential it is that you can simply work well with and alongside your colleagues. That you can each perform your daily tasks to your best ability.

If you can’t, then other questions come to mind. Do you need to speak to management or HR about any specific concerns? Are thoughts of colleagues causing you an inordinate amount of stress in or outside of work? Is there anything stopping you from looking for a fresh start elsewhere?

Some extra considerations

  • It’s fine to draw boundaries. You don’t have to add colleagues on Facebook and/or invite them to your wedding/birthday party/any other event if you don’t want to! It’s also okay to meet for drinks and have a laugh without revealing your innermost thoughts and secrets. And especially if you’re new to the team!
  • There are a few extra rules you may wish to follow. TheMuse shares five here – regarding boss-employee friendships, consideration, cliques, how much to be yourself, and the timing of things.

Colleagues driven you to distraction and beyond? Here are our insider tips to becoming an expert job hunter!

Stylist Sources (& remember those auto-play ads!):