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How to Be Happier at Work, According to Scientific Studies

Work-life balance, autonomy and a good social network are just three of the thin
gs happy workers have in common. Fox Photos / Stringer
Are you happy at your job? If you're like more than half of Americans, you're no
t fully satisfied with your job. That statistic may sound pretty abysmal, but th
at's the highest job satisfaction has been in more than a decade. But, it begs t
he question: Why are so many people unhappy at work?
It shouldn't surprise you to learn that an increase in happiness is correlated w
ith an increase in productivity (up to 12 percent, according to one study), and
that your job satisfaction could even impact your health later in life, increasi
ng or reducing your risk for chronic health conditions. But what is it that make
s you happy at work? Does it boil down to having a more positive attitude? Is it
finding your "one true calling"? Or is it merely the result of luck?
8 Things We Learned from The World Happiness Report
Now in its sixth year, the annual World Happiness Report strives to objectively
measure happiness around the world, and analyze the root causes for that happine
ss. In its latest 2017 report, Norway's citizens topped the list as being the ha
ppiest in the world, which is attributed to high marks in the following categori
es:
Income
Life expectancy
A close friend or relative
Generosity
Freedom
Trust
Of these, income, freedom and trust all relate to professional responsibilities.
The report delves into more specifics related to happiness at work, analyzing s
elf-reported measures of happiness and well being (which are distinct concepts t
reated somewhat interchangeably in this report) that represent 98 percent of the
global population.
These are some of the key findings of the report:
Employment is good. You may feel unsatisfied with your job at the moment, but yo
u'd be far unhappier without one. The report shows, without variation, that unem
ployment increases unhappiness steadily over the course of the unemployment peri
od. The longer you're out of work, the less satisfied you'll be with life.
More income is better. You won't be shocked to learn that higher income leads to
higher feelings of happiness but only up to a certain point. A study from Princet
on confirmed this effect back in 2010, calculating that once you reach about $75
,000 in annual income (as a single earner that's about $83,000 today), more income
doesn't make you any happier.
Work-life balance is a strong predictor of happiness. Spending more time with fa
mily and less time in the office, with less demanding work is a good thing and wit
h 24 percent of the American workforce working from home at least some of the ti
me, we may be moving in a positive direction here.
Variety and education are valuable. If you do the same thing every day, you're g
oing to be unsatisfied. Workers with some variety in their work, and those who h
ave the opportunity to learn new skills regularly report higher levels of happin
ess and well being.
Autonomy leads to satisfaction. For the most part, having more control over your
actions can also make you happier at work. Being given autonomy gives people mo
re freedom, one of the key factors for happiness overall.
Job security and safety matter. If your job puts you in danger, or has significa
nt consequences for your health, your happiness is going to decrease. Similarly,

it's factors l ike income. work-life balance. Do something new in your job every day. Spe cifically. dissatisfaction at home leads to d issatisfaction at work. Demand autonomy. work-life balance and variety. Though less important than factors like income. Namely." Ben Horowitz's commencement address to Columbia University in 2015 illustrates some of the main issues with this idea. Not all types of employment are the same. Ask for a raise. The report also suggests that differen t types of employment yield different effects on happiness. 6 Ways to Be Happier at Work. it leads to self-centeredness. passions are ha rd to prioritize. Be social. there's no de nying that there's a correlation here. safe jobs are the ones that yield the most happiness. in part because of lower job security than full-time employees. You can contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter http://www. Starting This Week Do you want to be happier in your career? These are the key points you need to w alk away with: Prioritize your personal life. Set your own standards if you can't. Stable. As much as we try to separate our personal and professional lives. and autonomy that lead to satisfaction. Failing to address your satisfaction in o ne area can cause a self-perpetuating spiral. self-employed people tend to report l ower happiness. they tend to evolve over time (especially when you're working on them for 40 or more hours a week). social capital can also infl uence your happiness at work. and so on. or find another line of wo rk (at least until you're making $83. Your health and job security are important. Social capital is a moderate predictor of happiness. Commit to finding happiness in your personal life . get a promotion. Being Happy at Work Starts at Home According to a recent study by Oregon University. and preserve it with a healthy work-life balance. There's no surefire recipe for happiness in any career. a happy home life can result i n an increase in immersion and productivity. if you feel that your job is in jeopardy or that you'll be unemployed in the ne ar future.000 a year) Accept and seek new challenges. but if you can follow th ese tips and look for work that accommodates them. So. Seek higher income. Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom.nbcnews. and your pa ssions don't necessarily reflect what you're good at or what's in demand. and forc e yourself to learn new skills.com/better/careers/how-be-happier-work-it-s-easier-you-think- n738081 . getting along with your coworkers and engaging in collaborative exercises can make you more satisfied. Find safety and stability. they found that workers with an active sex life reported higher level s of engagement and satisfaction than those with strained relationships or other stressors at home. work up the ladder until you can. which leads to even more stress at home. What About Finding Your Passion? Do you need to follow your bliss to be satisfied with your work? The answer is a resounding "no. a Seattle-based content mar keting & social media agency. What's even more important is that the overall appeal or industry of your work d oesn't appear to modulate your satisfaction with that work instead. Find a job with coworkers you relate to or work harder to build relatio nships with the ones you have. leading to a happier work life. for example. you'll also feel less satisfied with your work. the science almost guarantees you'll feel happier. mostly for reasons r elated to the above criteria.