It’s estimated that you will spend most of your life at work, spending more time with your colleagues than with your family and friends. Considering this, it is important to ensure that your work life is as satisfying as possible, carrying out work that stimulates you amongst like-minded supportive people. However, you may find that it’s easy to become stuck in a joyless job surrounded by less than compatible colleagues simply because you have bills to pay and need the money to keep coming in. There are, fortunately, methods you can implement to ensure that you enjoy going to work as much as possible. Here are five ways you can increase job satisfaction.
1. Improve your time management skills
Do you often enter the office in the morning already feeling rushed off your feet, aware of everything you have to get done today? Are you regularly caught off-guard by a task that you thought was low priority, only to find out that the deadline is, in fact, in a few hours? If so, then you might benefit from improving your time management skills. For instance, as soon as you get into the office in the morning, after checking your emails, compile a to-do list of tasks to be completed. You can take this one step further by color-coding them by priority: red being high priority tasks to be dealt with immediately, and green being low priority tasks that can be completed as and when you get a spare minute. A regularly updated to-do list also provides you with an easily-readable tool with which to inform your team of your workload. Implementing time management skills into your working mindset will enable you to be efficient and productive while not becoming overwhelmed.
2. Learn how to communicate assertively
The workplace can be a highly stressful environment, and, as such, you might sometimes find it difficult to communicate exactly what you need in a given situation to a colleague. This might result in aggressive, antagonistic exchanges or, at the other end of the spectrum, one person passively taking on more than their fair share of the workload. A solution to this problem, and to have more successful exchanges, is to learn how to communicate assertively in the workplace. Assertiveness is based upon equality and respect – your needs are just as valid as both your superiors and the people you manage under you. There is a three-step formula to effective assertive communication:
- What exactly is happening
- How do you feel about what is happening
- What do you want to be different
By clearly stating these three points in a non-aggressive manner, you will get your point across to others in an equal manner that brings you respect.
3. Pursue career development opportunities
It can be easy to get stuck in a role that does not intellectually stimulate you, simply so that you have a regular wage coming in. If this is the case, you should consider what the next step on your career ladder is and what exactly you have to do in order to get there. Depending on the industry you are in, this might involve further training to specialize in a particular field. For instance, if you are a registered nurse but would like to specialize in family nursing, you will have to earn a Master of Science in Nursing, choosing in particular FNP programs. On the other hand, your industry might not require a specific further qualification in order to progress in your career; however, this does not mean that you should rest on your laurels. Certificates in workplace skills such as the aforementioned time management and assertiveness, or management training, will demonstrate to recruiters that you are invested in your career and passionate about developing your skillset. Continuous education is never a bad thing, and you should always take further training whenever the opportunity arises.
4. Build meaningful relationships with your colleagues
With the average American working 1,764 hours per year, chances are you are going to spend more time with your colleagues than with your own family and friends. Therefore, the quality of your relationships with your workmates could make or break your time at work. Harassment and office bullying have been proven to have a hugely detrimental effect on your mental health, whereas workplace friends can help you through difficult periods in both your professional and personal lives. Assertiveness is key to effective office communication; however, don’t rely on this alone to develop meaningful relationships. Team building activities, such as games or even trips out of the office for a meal or a drink, can not only help to bring your team together in the work environment, but also contribute towards developing genuine friendships.
5. Look after your mental health
With continuous targets to meet, workplace criticisms and rivalries, and long working hours, it’s no wonder that your working life can easily become overwhelmingly stressful. Although many people thrive off a bit of stress, if left unchecked, it can soon snowball into a serious decline in mental health, leading to depression or even a breakdown. Although there might be some periods when you have to work longer hours than usual, a good work-life balance is key to maintaining positive mental health in the workplace. Keep track of your workload and, if you feel in danger of becoming overwhelmed with too many tasks, bring this to the attention of your manager and try to delegate some tasks whenever possible to other members of your team. You could also try to promote an open attitude towards mental health amongst your team and in the wider company. If employees feel supported and able to speak candidly about their mental health, your office will become a more supportive environment.
Implementing these five ideas into your life will not only greatly help increase your satisfaction in the workplace, but their benefits will also seep into your personal life. This can really change your life for the better, and all it starts with is the above steps.