A lot of business owners believe that if they want to motivate their employees and themselves to be more productive, they should pay their staff more or increase their own pay. Now, this is an outdated thinking. The idea of using money as the motivator to increase workers’ productivity may be true, but it may not be the best method. Research has discovered that happy people are productive people.
Recently, there was a study conducted by economics professor Andrew Oswald and his team from the University of Warwick.
Profession Oswald and his team have tested a wide range of tests in their research. One of their experiments required students to add a series of 5 two-digit numbers in 10 minutes. The students were paid based on the number of correct answers.
Some of the students were to watch a comedy film to increase their level of happiness before they went for the test. And other students watched a “placebo” film as a control group.
The result from the test showed that students who watched the comedy film before they conducted the test had an increased in productivity. According to professor Oswald, “Happier workers, our research found, were 12% more productive. Unhappier workers were 10% less productive.”
At the same time, students who watched the comedy film but did not report a higher level of happiness were unable to demonstrate higher levels of productivity.
Professor Oswald and his team also discovered that those who experienced a death or illness in their families within the past 2 years performed 10% worse than the average.
While 12% was the average of increased productivity, the study also found that some students were 20% more productive than the control groups.
Dr. Sgroi, another professor involved in the research says:
“The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”
Therefore, we can conclude that happy people are productive people.
So what can you do if you want to increase your productivity? The answer is pretty simple, just make yourself happy.
In fact, happiness does not only increase your productivity, it also opens your mind, allow you to be more creative, and notice better opportunities around you.
You can read my previous post about how positive thinking can impact your life by allowing you to see more possibilities in life.
Now that we know that we can increase our productivity by becoming happy, so what can we do to improve our workplace happiness?
13 Tips to Increase Your Workplace Happiness for Self-Employed People
As a blogger, a writer, and also someone who works from home, I believe that it is extremely important to maintain our level of happiness and satisfaction in order to perform better.
When you are working from your home or all by yourself, you need a lot of self-discipline, willpower, motivation, and even need to develop productive habits to make sure you get the work done.
Working at home and working in the office in the corporate world is totally different. When you’re at home, nobody is there watching you. And if you don’t discipline yourself to work, you will realize that your time will be gone and wasted in an instant.
You may end up surfing the internet mindless, watching endless videos on YouTube, checking updates on Facebook, etc.
Hence, I believe that it is extremely important to make sure you discipline yourself and do the work.
As we already learned, increasing our level of happiness can boost our productivity. So here are some useful tips that can help us make us happier in each of our workday, no matter if you work at home or in the office.
1. Create happiness visual-triggers
One of the easiest ways to boost our happiness level is to use objects to spark our joy. What are the objects or visual triggers that can spark your happiness?
People love to put up family pictures on the wall or other meaningful objects to display such as trophies. This is because whenever we see those objects, they remind us and bring up the happy moment that we had before.
Vision boards and motivational posters work the same. Whenever we see our vision boards, we remind ourselves of our dreams and goals.
When parents see a picture of them carrying their firstborn in their arms, they feel the sensation and that experience an instant joyful jolt.
Thus, make good use of these objects. If you are working from home, create visual triggers that will inspire and make you happy.
2. Increase the comfort of working in the office or at home
One way to make you and your workers happy at the workplace is to create a comfortable work environment.
You don’t have to invest in expensive office furniture or gadgets, all you need is a comfort workstation.
In my case, I’m more willing to work longer hours and it motivates me to perform better when I have a proper workstation. Lately, I have bought a new chair for my workstation. I feel good and comfortable every time I sit on it. It makes me happy and more productive.
What about you? What can you do to increase the comfort of your workplace? If you have employees, what can you do to improve their comfort while working?
Consider improving your workplace for all 5 senses. Read this article to learn how you can do so.
3. Don’t forget socializing with others
While social media is a huge distraction, not getting any social can kill our happiness. We all need balance in life.
Imagine living all by yourself. You have no one to talk to or speak to. How does that make you feel? Boring and lost connection?
We all need to socialize with other people from time to time. It is true that we need personal time to be alone too, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t social with other people.
In fact, highly successful people understand the power of socializing with others. They make friends with others and talk about their dreams. Of course, they choose to socialize with people who are also successful.
As the saying goes, “Birds of the same feather flock together”.
In 1915, four successful titans came along to form a friendship group where they would embark on a series of summer camping trips. And they called themselves Four Vagabonds. These 4 titans were non-other than the legendary Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone.
We need to socialize and connect with others in order to thrive. Thus, allow social activities in the office. If you are the boss, you can organize social activities to build stronger relationships and make your staff happy.
If you are working alone, try not to stay at home and work by yourself the entire week. Schedule time to socialize with other people.
You need to talk to people, listen, and absorb from others to widen your perspective. Talking to people who truly support and care about you can make you happy. And when you’re happy, you’re productive.
4. Keep your workplace clean and organized
Want to make yourself and your employees happy? Simple, just keep the office clean and organized. If you work from home, organize your workstation.
Cleaning and decluttering may not be what you love to do, but studies have proven that a clean and organized workplace did affect our moods and stress.
There was a study conducted by The University of California that showed coming home to a messy house can interfere with our body’s production of the stress-relieving hormone cortisol. This is because when we see the big pile of mess that we need to clean up, we feel stress. We’re dreaded by the mess.
I try to keep as fewer items on my desk as possible. When my desk is clean and organized, I feel that I’m more able to focus on my writing.
Plus, a clean workstation encourages me to want to work there.
Our environment does affect our mood and levels of happiness. Hence, try to keep your workstation clean and organized. Here’s a great article you should read:
5. Create more development and learning opportunities
One of the keys to improving your workplace happiness is your ability for growth.
When you feel stuck, not moving forward, and whatever you have done are not producing any result, seek help.
Improvement is one of the keys to long-lasting happiness. A lot of people choose to work in a job because they want a better pay. After they get into the company, only to discover that what they truly want is a place for growth and improvement.
Many studies have shown that a higher pay is not the main reason people choose to switch a company. People often choose to change company or decided to stay even when they pay is low is because of growth.
They feel that what they do is worth it, they are engaged in their work, and they experience growth, which makes them happy.
Regardless of whether you are working for someone else or you are working for yourself at home, you must strive to improve and create more learning opportunities.
For people who are working from home, commit to reading books, attend seminars and workshops, and learn from other experts in your industry. Read their blogs and follow them on social media.
If you are working in the office, you can do the same. You can even propose to your boss that there is a seminar or a workshop you like to attend to increase your skill and knowledge so that the company can benefit too.
6. Help out those who are in need
Another great tip for making yourself happen in the workplace is to help out those who are in need.
As a personal development blogger, one of the easiest ways to help others is to write quality content that inspires people to take action. And this is what I’m always striving to do, and I hope that you’ll love what I shared.
More importantly, whenever possible, try to reach out and help.
When you see an elderly trying to cross the busy road, help out. When you see that someone’s hands are full and she needs to open the doors, help out.
Of course, extend this to your workplace. When your colleagues need your help, do so. When your customers face problems and need your guidance, help out.
When you help out someone who is in need, it makes you feel happy and satisfy. You feel proud deep within yourself because you understand that you have just done something great for others.
Whenever someone emails me about what I did or ask something about my blog or the problems that they face in life, I try my best to reply and help out.
7. Celebrate and enjoy even the smallest achievements
If you want to feel happy, just celebrate and enjoy your achievements. Whenever you have completed a task, give yourself a pat on the back. Celebrate all your victories so that you feel good about them.
Here’s a quote from an article published on Harvard Business Review website about making progress and celebrating wins:
“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress – even a small win – can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.”
When you are celebrating your victories, no matter how small they are, you are telling yourself that you are making progress. And making progress makes you feel like you’re winning and moving forward, which makes you feel great.
And when you’re feeling great and happy, you’ll be more productive.
If you want to learn how to celebrate your wins so that you’ll be motivated to achieve bigger goals in life, read this article.
8. Schedule play into your day
According to the author who wrote the book, The Now Habit, Neil Fiore suggests we schedule our play into our calendar first rather than scheduling our work first.
This is because when we schedule plays into our day or week first, we are directly telling ourselves, “not to worry because we’ve scheduled play time.”
If you schedule all the work without any play, you’ll feel dreaded and your days or weeks are going to be boring. All work without play makes jack a dull boy.
Thus, try to schedule play time into your calendar first, and then only schedule your work. When you see that there’s play in your schedule, it makes you look forward to it. It motivates you to work harder and allows you to focus better.
Just like when there is an overseas holiday trip coming up, you tend to look forward to it. You feel excited about it and you’ll make sure you get all the work done before you fly.
Studies have discovered that people are more motivated when there’s a holiday trip coming up. They somehow manage to find all the drives to get the work done before they go for holidays.
This explains why scheduling your play into your day is important. It makes your mood better because something good is waiting for you.
And when you’re happy, you’ll be more productive and able to get more done.
9. Accept yourself as where you are right now
If you want to feel happy, regardless of whether it is in life or at work, one thing you can do is to accept yourself as for where you are right now.
You don’t have to compare with your colleagues who are having more sales than you. You don’t have to compare with your friends who are having a vacation in Hawaii and you don’t need to compare yourself who are driving a better car than you do.
You just need to accept yourself for where you are right at this moment. When you accept yourself for being where you are, you’ll feel better, you’ll be able to take control of your life and produce the future that you want.
The key is to accept the fact that you are at where you are right now.
When you accept the truth that you’re in debt, only then you’re able to come up with a solution to get over it and create more wealth.
You have to first accept the fact that you’re overweight only then you’re able to take charge of your health and start doing something about it.
If you don’t accept where you are right now, you will continue to live as it is as live in delusion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should accept where you are as in you should accept your fate. Instead, I’m saying that you should accept where you are so that you can make changes and build a better future.
You cannot fix what you don’t know is broken.
When you accept where you are now, you’ll be able to take control of your life. And this is when happiness will come to you.
You’ll feel happy when you’re in control. You can then make changes and improve your situation for the better.
10. Keep a gratitude list
Do I need to explain this more? When you are grateful for the things that you have, you’ll feel happy.
Oftentimes, people are not feeling happy because they don’t feel grateful for the things that they have in life.
Look at this picture below:
When you’re grateful and you appreciate what you have in life, you’ll be happy. When you’re not grateful, you won’t be happy no matter what you have in life.
Therefore, feel grateful by keeping a gratitude list.
11. Exercise and move your body
Plenty of studies and research have shown that exercise and moving your body can make you happy.
According to this article published on WebMD, when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. And the article says:
“These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.”
And if you read the book, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, written by Laura Vanderkam, she said that most highly successful people exercise before they get to work.
People including Barrack Obama, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, and more, exercise and sweat because they know that active lifestyle makes them happy and productive.
I strongly recommend you read the book.
12. Get enough sleep or get a power nap
How can you feel happy when you’re not even having enough sleep? If you want to stay happy all day long, you must make sure you have enough sleep to maintain your energy and health.
Some people say that sleep makes them happy, while some say otherwise. For me, it’s very simple, I can’t be happy when I’m tired and sleepy.
According to an article from Jawbone, it says:
“Everybody knows that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but what does a good night’s sleep really mean? Our data shows that longer sleep duration is correlated with improved mood, until you get to 8 hours of sleep. We see that people who sleep between 8 – 9.5 hours during a night tend to wake up happier than those who slept less or more than that.”
Well, for me, I don’t sleep as much as 8 hours a day. I only get about 6 hours of sleep a day.
The thing is that when I’m feeling tired in the afternoon, I’ll just go for a power nap. If you want to understand more about power nap, read Michael Hyatt’s blog post here.
I believe that to feel happy, you must feel awake. And you certainly cannot achieve this state when you’re sleepy and tired.
So get as much sleep as you need. And if you sleep less, try to incorporate power naps into your day.
When you have the energy and you’re not tired, it is easier to stay happy.
13. Find the fun factor in your work
How can you feel the fun if you don’t enjoy doing the work? Not having fun is one of the main reasons people hating their jobs.
Sir Richard Branson says it well:
“Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home, why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
Read Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and you will know how he makes his journey in the entrepreneurship world fun.
If what your work is not fun at all, it is hard for you to engage with your work and feel happy. You need to inject the fun factor into your work.
Richard Branson also says that a business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts. If you’re a business owner but you’re not having fun with what you do, all you focus on it the profit, the business may not thrive for long.
The same goes for this blog. If I’m not finding it fun and excited to write and to publish, I will not do it over the long-term.
I’m able to write such a long article and publish so regularly is because I love what I do. I have fun and enjoy pouring my thoughts and voice into this blog.
So are you having fun in what you do?
Having fun is one of the fundamentals of feeling happy. If you’re not having fun, perhaps, you should rethink what you do or find your passion again from it.
So if you want to be productive, just make yourself happy.
There are many ways how you can make yourself happy, either at home or at work. It is a choice. It happens in your head.
How do you make yourself happy at work? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.