These tips for making work better begin with lava lamps and end with self-awareness – and they will make work better for you by increasing job satisfaction, helping you enjoy your workday, and solving problems at work.
“Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think,” says Chris Boyce, an economics and psychology researcher at the University of Warwick. “Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion, and in a way that goes beyond merely a short-term change. There are no indications of any health improvements for promoted people other than reduced [doctors’ visits], which may itself be something to worry about rather than celebrate.”
A promotion isn’t the best way to determine whether you’re achieving your career goals! Instead, are you happy to get up in the morning and go to work? Does the day fly by because you’re immersed in your job? Are you enjoying your work relationships? Does your boss give you appropriate and appreciated staff appreciation gifts? Those considerations are more important than how far and how fast you’re moving up the corporate ladder.
And, here are five ways to improve your work environment…
5 Ways to Make Work Better
1. Take your lava lamps and green plants to work. Both are scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve health on the job. The motion of the lava lamp is visually relaxing, and green plants increase job satisfaction by providing a sense of rest. Research shows that having plants in your office is more beneficial than having a window!
2. Develop strategies for coping with workplace bullying and office conflicts. The better equipped you are to cope with conflict at work — such as dealing with office politics — the less mental stress and strain you’ll feel. Achieving your career goals is more about empowerment than getting a job promotion. Take classes or read books about dealing with difficult coworkers. Go to workshops or “brown bag sessions” on workplace communication, job success, or employee interactions. Take an evening course on succeeding on the job, or creating a better work environment.
3. Schedule “mental health” days. Don’t reserve time off for when you or your family is physically ill, or you’re on vacation! Schedule one workday every couple of months just for relaxing, pursuing your favorite leisure activity, or catching up on stuff at home. This may be a lot to ask your employer — and it’s often difficult to leave work for “no reason” — but it’s worth the effort.
4. Know yourself – get comfortable with your own personality. For example, people with introverted personality traits may feel socially inept, weird, or antisocial. Introverts don’t always realize that they’re simply drained by groups of people and that they process their thoughts differently than extroverts. The more you know about your personality – and the more comfortable you are with yourself – the easier it’ll be to make work better. And, dealing with workplace stress is easier when you have a little self-awareness and insight into how you tick. If you’re an introvert, learn how to make work better for people with introverted personality traits.
5. Deal with your health problems today. If you’re flirting with depression, stomachaches, stress headaches, or chronic fatigue, go to a doctor as soon as possible. This is especially important if you’ve recently won a job promotion! Research on job promotions shows that after advancing at work, employees are 20% less likely to visit their doctors for routine physicals or specific health complaints. Promoted workers have more time constraints that, coupled with increased mental strain and stress, leads to fewer doctors’ visits and poorer health.
Are you thinking about changing jobs? Read What You Need to Know About Making a Career Change at 40. Even if you’re not close to forty.
Do you have any thoughts on making work better or achieving your career goals? I welcome your comments below…