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!

Half of workers in the wrong job!

Is your job the right one for you? Two separate UK studies suggest that 1/2 of UK workers might be in the wrong job…or even the wrong career.

Study no. 1: almost half of UK workers in the wrong job

Our first study comes from the CIPD, as reported by HR Review. They found…

  • 49% of people don’t have the right skill-set to match their current role: either being under- or over-skilled for their job.
  • 37% fall into the ‘over-skilled’ category, able to take on ‘more demanding duties’ than their roles require.
  • Conversely, 12% are in positions that they are not fully equipped to carry out.

As you can see, this study views the right and wrong job as one based on an appropriate skill-set. The CIPD also shared some interesting findings surrounding educational level.

It is reported that we have one of the ‘most skilled workforces’  in the world, as 42% of people hold a degree-level qualification. That said, we are also the nation with the highest proportion of roles that do not require degrees (or, for that matter, any lower level qualifications!).

  • 1/3 of employees reported that although they need a degree in order to qualify for their job, they don’t actually need one to complete their role to an effective standard.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, even those with degrees could fall into the ‘under-skilled’ category for their particular role.

Do these findings matter? Does it all even out in the end? HR Review’s report would suggest that this skill-set disparity is an issue as it can have a negative consequence on employees’ satisfaction. And we all know how employees’ experiences also directly affect staff retention levels and business growth.

Study no. 2: half of British workers may be in the wrong career

Research conducted by First Direct (and published by the Independent) tackles the question of career satisfaction more directly. We hear…

  • More than 1/2 of respondents are unsure if they are in the right career. 47% do not enjoy their ‘current line of work’.
  • Additionally, 47% do not feel fulfilled by their career and 40% intend to change jobs within two years.
  • Many of the dissatisfied employees are considering alternative career paths.

These results are said to apply to all age groups/generations. What’s more, the motivation for change goes beyond pay rates and towards increased skills development and job satisfaction.

How to know whether you’re in the right job or career for you…

Here’s where things get really tricky. Do you measure how closely your qualifications and skills match your current job role? Do you look to how happy you feel on a Monday morning? Or do you read lists such as Forbes’ ‘10 signs you’re in the right job and 10 signs you’re not?!’

The chances are you know the answer if you’re at either extreme of job satisfaction level. So, for both those who are excited to get to work 99% of the time and those who spend most of their day miserably clock-watching. However, if you fall somewhere between the two, things may not be so black and white.

Only you know your individual measures regarding what matters most for your job and career, and how this translates into ‘right or wrong’.

  • Regularly browsing the latest jobs in Bath (and surrounding!) may help illuminate things further. Is there a position that better suits your current skills and goals? Do you feel excited to apply for a role?
  • If it’s a complete career change that you’re dreaming of, this is the guide to read. It offers realistic advice for anyone who doesn’t already have multiple qualifications/career experiences to casually switch between (not to mention those who don’t have an endless pot of money to fund the career change process!).

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on how you know when you’re in the right or wrong job. Is it an instinct or do you have set criteria to work to? Let us know by TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Dissatisfied at work? What the research says…

Feeling dissatisfied with your daily work? Research suggests we’re at risk of spending six and a half years of our lives feeling this way. But what do these findings tell us about job satisfaction in Bath?

The stats (published by HR News) suggest that almost 1/3 of workers spend half of their time at work with a sense of job dissatisfaction. This mounts up to…

  • 861 hours & 12 minutes each year.
  • Averaging 6 years, 6 months over the course of the current working lifetime!

Are certain jobs more likely to leave you feeling dissatisfied?

Research indicates that this could be the case. We’re interested to see that the top three most dissatisfied jobs include:

  • Customer service executives (37%)
  • Hospitality employees (34%)
  • Administrators (34%)

The remaining ‘most dissatisfied’ career roles are detailed in the original post.

However, let’s take a step back and look at the stats. Well over half of the professionals undertaking each of the above roles aren’t reporting this dissatisfaction. This suggests a highly individual response, as opposed to a job role-specific trend.

Do the results differ by city? And if so, how did Bath fare?

Indeed they do! What’s more, it’s wonderful news for Bath.

The area hit worst by employee dissatisfaction appears to be Wolverhampton, with 60% of respondents expressing such frustrations. As for Bath, it came in as one of the top four most satisfied cities with an impressively low 9% of dissatisfied workers.

Why are people so dissatisfied in the first place?

The main cause appears to be a heavy workload (50%) and its associated poor work-life balance. This is followed by an uneven distribution of work effort, disliking everyday responsibilities, challenging bosses and long commutes.

And why are these workers remaining dissatisfied for so long?

You may have already asked yourself ‘why aren’t they just leaving their jobs if they’re so unhappy?’ Six and a half years of life is, after all, rather a long time!

As already discussed, these findings are highly individual. Yet the vast majority (77%) of workers report the same underlying reason: “they believe they’re lacking the skills to get a different job” or they simply don’t know what else to do.

What to do with this information

If you’re one of the people feeling this way, you’d really benefit from reading our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips. This article takes you through the steps that you need to do your background research (helping you work out exactly what’s out there and what you may be suited to).

Plus it also helps you to see your existing skills from a new perspective. If this sounds appealing, be sure to head to the Skills & Achievements Master-List mentioned in tip 6.

New starter advice: for employees & managers

New starter advice for managers and employees…

Poor onboarding (or failing to create a positive new starter experience) is more of a problem than you might think. In fact, it’s said to be costing our national economy millions of pounds.

So where are things going so wrong?

This problem is far from a UK-only issue. Research conducted on 9,000 job-seekers from 11 countries; spanning four continents highlights just how vital the early job experience is to staff retention.

  • 91% of respondents (and remember that’s from 9,000 people!) would be open to leaving a role within the first month.
  • 93% would be willing to do so within their probation period.

And as for why, the reasons stated include:

  1. ‘Poor management’ (44%)
  2. The disparity between an advertised job and the realities of the role (44%)
  3. A ‘mismatch with corporate culture’ (38%)
  4. Poor onboarding efforts (36%)
  5. An alternative job offer (23%)

How to overcome a poor new starter experience…

As the new employee:

  • Firstly, make sure you’re doing all that you can to get the most out of your early experience. You’ll find a dedicated new starter advice PDF on our Downloads page (top right!).
  • Sometimes our nerves and the weight of our expectations can cloud our perceptions of the role itself. Focusing on our individual performance and seeing how we can achieve our early job aims can help to direct our focus of attention. Plus, if you do decide to leave the role, you know that you’ve at least put the effort in on your side!
  • In addition, be sure to communicate your concerns to your recruitment consultant. They may be better placed to suss out any issues that are affecting your onboarding experience. For instance, if the team are facing additional challenges that are diverting their time and resources.
  • They may additionally be able to obtain insights into any disparities that you have encountered. And, where appropriate, they may be able to discuss the alternative job offer that you’ve received.
  • If you’re certain that you cannot remain within the company, there’s all the more reason to have a chat with your consultant to ensure that you depart in a professional manner.

As the employer:

  • Many of the reasons for leaving can also fall under the umbrella of poor onboarding efforts, or reason 4. For instance, the failure to assign your new starter a manager/dedicated point of contact; not providing early access to this contact, and a lack of discussion regarding the company culture/efforts to ascertain the employee’s expectations regarding this. The good news? All onboarding elements can be overcome!
  • We have a separate tips post at the ready for you (scroll to the final section).
  • We’d recommend incorporating these tips into a prevention strategy. Effectively onboarding each new starter should be an integral part of all future recruitment efforts. For further advice on staff attraction, onboarding and retention, please call the office on 01225 313130.

The first-day rule

About to start a new job? Time to mull over the first-day rule…

This rule, also known as ‘the one thing you shouldn’t do when starting a new job’, comes fresh from the Independent. It’s a conversation starter in itself; one that we’ve not heard from other career experts.

So, what is this first-day rule exactly?!

At its core, it’s making an effort to get to know your colleagues before you launch into the story of your life.

In other words, show your interest, ask questions and all around make an effort to find out about their ‘roles, talents and achievements’.

Wouldn’t it be easier to tell them a bit about you first?

The article describes how easy it is to fall into the trap of promoting your own accomplishments and ambitions upon meeting new people. Apparently, this can lead your new colleagues to feel ‘nervous or annoyed because they don’t know you.’

Our thoughts…

This makes good sense, yet to a limit. There’s a big difference between launching into your every hope and dream, and in offering up some conversational morsels for your new colleagues to work with. Especially if they’ve asked you a question!

Furthermore, first-day nerves could transform your friendly questioning into a machine gun fire of interrogation. Plus not all of your new colleagues will actually want to promote their own talents and achievements to someone they’ve only just met. Also unsettling!

Instead, we’d tend to recommend playing it a little safer. Show an interest but don’t make things too personal – stick to conversations about the role or company itself. Throw yourself into your work. Make an effort to be friendly and approachable.

If you’re asked a question about your previous work, you can keep your answers safe and positive. You don’t need to share everything at once!

For more advice…