Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more insights.

Sign up.

10 simple things you and your colleagues can do today to have a better day at work

September 20, 2022   ·  

This week (19th-25th September) is dedicated to the International Week of Happiness at Work, which is all about promoting the idea of finding happiness at work—not just as something to look forward to at the weekend. 

For those that know our backstory, we used to go by the name of Happiness Lab, so this is a subject we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about.  These days, we tend to talk about the importance of experiencing more good days at work (and fewer bad ones), and let’s be honest, the things that can cause us to have good and bad days are many and varied. 

However, in support of all those professionals out there trying to help others have more good days and fewer bad ones, here’s a list of 10 simple things you and your colleagues can do today to have a better day at work.

  1. The power of a smile - Something as simple as smiling can boost how you feel because it tells your brain to be happier--thanks to the release of neuropeptides. Smiling is also contagious and will make your co-workers smile as well.  If you want to turn it into a social experiment, you and your colleagues can try “smile collecting” - walk around your office or place of work and smile at your colleagues, count the number of people that smile back.

  2. A tidy workstation - The idea of tidying might not be synonymous with feeling better about anything but having a clean desk makes the work environment seem less hectic and stressful.  Plus, it will help you be better prepared and work more efficiently, increasing your chances of a) getting out of work on time and b) feeling like you’ve achieved something positive today.

  3. Take a minute - We can’t work all day at maximum output taking small, regular breaks is important.  Imagine yourself as a top athlete (maybe that’s not so hard to do, eh?), you can’t operate at a sprint for several hours… you need to pace yourself and balance out your efforts.  Ensuring you get some breathing space in your day will help you remain creative, competent, and cheerful in the face of constant demands.

  4. Create a mood-boosting playlist - If this is possible within the workplace or if you work remotely, music can seriously improve your mood (and productivity) when you’re having a bad day. Pull together some of your favourite songs and use the beats to keep you going through the day. My personal favourites are anything Motown-related!  Don’t forget your headphones !! 

  5. Drink water - Drinking water helps with everything. Keep a glass of it on your desk—it will help keep you focused and hydrated and will fight away any nagging headache. You will feel amazing, and your office outlook will be improved.

  6. Help a co-worker - Research shows that when we help our colleagues, we’re not only improving their day but making our own better too.  Prioritising lending a hand to a co-worker in need creates a positive reward system for ourselves and role-models the kind of place we want to work in. So, go ahead, take 10 minutes to help with that difficult project, and feel the lasting effects all week.

  7. Tick off your daily goals - Set aside a few minutes each morning to gather your thoughts and create a list of your goals for the day. You don’t need to get too complicated; a short list will suffice, and as you achieve them, be sure to tick them off - our internal reward systems (dopamine) don’t make much of a distinction between big and small achievements… so be sure to reward yourself all day long with lots of small wins.

  8. Leave work at work - It’s important to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies. Make a rule where you must leave your work at the office, whether its bricks and mortar or your home office. If you don’t complete a task while you’re clocked in, make it a priority for the next morning, but leave it at work. It’s hard not to think about work while you’re at home because it’s such a large portion of your life but give it a try. The more you put it out of your mind, the more rejuvenated you’ll feel each morning when it’s time to go back to the office.

  9. Don’t worry about mistakes - If you make a mistake, whether it’s a verbal slip-up in a meeting or a typo in an email, let it go. You can’t beat yourself up over something like that because everyone makes mistakes.

  10. Get outside - walk to the shop for lunch, stroll through the park, go for a run, have a walking meeting, take the dog for a walk - whatever it is - spending time outdoors is just good for us and our mood.  So, be sure to block out some time to get some fresh air.  You’ll feel better for it.
Katie Range
Katie Range

Marketing Manager

Employee engagementLeadershipMotivationWellbeing

Further reading