Happy Days? As Working Women Learn How Your Work Can Make You Smile

Finding happiness in the work you do takes planning and strategies. There’s a lot of happy talk lately, perhaps in reaction to a stressful political climate. But it seems as if more and more people are in search of happiness and striving to tell others how to achieve it at work, home, rest and play.Investment Zen recently asserted the notion recently that experiences take precedence over things and make people happier.“Multiple studies have shown that we not only enjoy purchases of experiences more than material things, but that this pleasure starts in the anticipation leading up to the event – way before the actual experience. It also lingers long after the event is over,” Hazel Garcia writes.[bctt tweet=“Finding happiness in the work you do takes planning and strategies #womenintheworkplace” username=“takeleadwomen”]Just out, the World Happiness Report shows that unemployment makes both men and women unhappy in 150 countries around the world. And part time work makes some women happier. This also seems like a no-brainer, but the report shows that managers and executives, CEOs, and all those in the c-suite, are happier than blue collar workers.According to the report, both men and women “who categorize themselves as a manager, an executive, an official, or a professional worker evaluate the quality of their lives at a little over 6 out of 10 whereas people working in farming, fishing, or forestry evaluate their lives around 4.5 out of 10 on average. A very similar picture is obtained when considering not only life evaluation but also the day-to-day experience of positive affective states such as smiling, laughing, enjoyment, or feeling well rested.”The Harvard Business Review reports on the UN study, “When we look at global averages, we see that self-employment is generally associated with lower levels of happiness as compared to being a full-time employee.”But that is only in some parts of the world. In the U.S. and “most developed nations,” being self-employed is complicated. While there is “higher overall life evaluation,” there are also “more negative, daily emotions such as stress and worry. It will most likely come as no surprise to anyone who owns a business that being self-employed can be both rewarding and stressful.”As anyone who has good and bad days at work can attest, work is not all happy days or miserable days. There is some of both for working women.[bctt tweet=“Work isn’t all happy days or miserable days. There is some of both for #workingwomen. “ username=“takeleadwomen”]“It is worth noting that the relationship between happiness and employment is a complex and dynamic interaction that runs in both directions. Indeed, an increasing body of research shows that work and employment are not only drivers of people’s happiness, but that happiness can itself help to shape job market outcomes, productivity, and even firm performance,” writes Jan-Emmanuel De Neve of the University of Oxford in HBR. “Being happy at work thus isn’t just a personal matter; it’s also an economic one.”Making small changes at work can make all working women happier, writes Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within in Inc.With 25 clear suggestions, Daskal includes this strategy: “Even if your work is serious, don’t forget the importance of fun. Do what you can to bring fun into work. One of my clients got a popcorn maker for the office, and now every Wednesday at a designated time they make fresh popcorn and spend some time relaxing and connecting. Even 15 or 20 minutes can make a lot of difference.”At Take The Lead, we have frequently taken on the task of figuring out what makes us happy at work. With the goal of gender parity in leadership by 2025, Take The Lead has a mission to offer the tools for working women to be immersed in their own power to accomplish their goals. And that would make anyone happy.Author Amy Blankson, co-founder of GoodThink, writes in her new book, The Future of Happiness, that technology plays a key role in happiness. So we better learn how to manage it in order to keep smiling. Here are her five distinct strategies Blankson says will help maintain balance and happiness in your work life.[bctt tweet=“Tech plays a key role in #happiness. So we better learn how to manage it in order to keep smiling.” username=“takeleadwomen”]

  1. “Stay grounded. Without setting your intention, we quickly get swept into the onslaught of tasks, checklists and priorities that other people have set out for us.”
  2. “Know thyself. The key to making better decisions is taking the time to look thoughtfully at the details that shape our larger environment. Until you believe that your behavior matters, change is virtually impossible.”
  3. “Train your brain. If happiness is the answer we seek, then optimizing ouor mindset is the algorithm to get us there. A positive and engaged brain is 31 percent more productive, three times more creative and 10 times more engaged.”
  4. “Create a habitat for happiness. Just as decluttering our spaces improves our productivity, efficiency and creativity, so decluttering our minds serves to improve our mental functioning and overall mood.”
  5. “Innovate consciously. Happiness is a means, not an end. It’s a tool, not a byproduct. It’s a mindset, not an outcome. Conscious collaboration requires being an active participant in a group that is dedicated to using their ideas, time and talent to change the world.”

Whether you work alone or in an office, happiness is partly in your control.“Individuals make a company culture,” Blankson writes. “Whether you are a manager or front-line employee, each of us has a choice to shape the environment in which we work through our mindset and our actions.”Chances are most of us would choose to be happy.