We’ve all been there: The alarm goes off in the morning, and you just don’t want to go to work.
As adults with responsibilities, we don’t have a choice most of the time. So we get up, get out and try to make the workday as tolerable as possible. While that may seem easier said than done, you owe it to the future you — whose alarm is going to chime out just as loudly tomorrow morning — to try.
The good news: Enjoying your workday can make you a better employee and a happier person. According to startup mentor Martin Zwilling, “[P]eople who have fun at work are more innovative.” Fun is nothing to be afraid of.
In the quest to help you find your Happy Place, we asked Aerotek contractors what they think. They had four key recommendations:
Make your body, mind and environment as happy as you can.
Your enjoyment of your workday starts with you. You can’t control everything, but the things you can control are all within yourself.
Take care of your body and mind throughout the day. Take regular breaks to walk around, get your blood pumping and clear your mind of whatever stressful or difficult situations you face. Try working in another location to switch up your perspective, such as a break room or conference area or even, if possible, from home. The change of scenery can provide a much-needed boost of productivity, keeping you engaged in the task at hand.
If your job keeps you at your desk, make your workstation a happy place to be. Plants, pictures and other personal touches can help keep you relaxed and positive throughout your day.
Finally, don’t be afraid to set boundaries. You can only wake up ready to face the day if you’ve given yourself time to refresh. As Electrical Applications Engineer and Aerotek contractor Micah Payne says, “Putting in a hard day’s work, going home and having the proper work/life balance: It’s invigorating.”
Spread joy among your coworkers
You’re not the only one who might’ve had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. Your coworkers might also need a boost. You have an influence on the attitude of your colleagues. Will you project empowerment or negativity? Excitement or boredom? As Aerotek contractor and Service Coordinator Tina Chapelle says, “I do the best I can, and I like to make my boss and everybody laugh. I like to have a good time.” Who else wouldn’t mind working with Tina?
Try starting happiness-enhancing traditions with coworkers. Offer to do a shared snack run. Chat with someone during lunch. A friendly compliment, smile or wave can go a long way. Set the tone for workplace communication by being open, transparent and fair in your dealings. Express genuine appreciation whenever it’s reciprocated. And don’t be afraid to laugh or be silly when the time is right.
If you want to go above and beyond, you can put yourself in unofficial charge of workplace happiness. Treat it like a responsibility. Make a note of measurements of happiness, like laughs or smiles, and keep track. See if you can get these to trend upwards.
Don’t wait around for permission to love your job. Be entrepreneurial. Find ways to get involved in projects that spark your interest. Forget about what is or isn’t in your job description — if there’s an opportunity for you to take initiative and solve a problem or learn a skill, talk to your boss about it.
As Structural Engineer and Aerotek contractor Jake Scholan puts it, “I take an interest in what I do. I read articles and magazines and books. I study. I ask questions. I seek out information on my own, and as a result, I’m interested in what I do.” If you take control of which skills you master and which areas you want to excel in, you’ll have something to be excited about when you wake up each day. It’s a key difference between having a job and having a career.
If all else fails, get help
If you’re really struggling, ask for help. Reach out to your boss, an HR representative or your recruiter for advice. There’s a lot you can do to make your workday as enjoyable as possible, but you can’t do everything. It’s okay to ask for help.
How can we help you today?
Aerotek contractors Micah Payne, Tina Chappelle, and Jake Scholan contributed to this article.Need help finding a great job in 2017? Talk to us on Facebook or Twitter and visit our job board.