Hybrid Work and Happiness: 4 Tips to Boost Your Mood in the New Normal

The pandemic has impacted our lives, including our working lives, in different but significant ways. With so much change, uncertainty, and with many of the old ways of connecting at work - (such as team-building events, office parties, or casual chats by the water cooler) - having gone by the wayside, finding ways to be happy at work in the new normal can be challenging.

Research teaches us that being happier at work is tied to improved health and well-being; higher creativity, productivity, and innovation; less stress; and faster career advancement. As the world begins to open again, try these proven habits, backed by science, to help you --cultivate happiness at work, even if your work is no longer within the same four walls:

1. Declutter and organize

  • Research confirms that less mess equals less stress! Creating a work environment that is organized can increase your productivity, decrease overwhelm, and boost happiness. Research has also found that an untidy space can impair your ability to focus on a task, increase cortisol (a stress hormone), and can even make you more likely to reach for junk food to snack on.

  • Organizing your workspace can lead to a happier, healthier work environment – and can also improve your mental health. Try taking inventory of your workspace, wherever it may be, and look for ways to clear clutter, remove mess, and tidy tabletops. Cable management accessories, filing cabinets, label makers, and desktop organizers can be great tools to help you create a work environment that -minimizes distractions and help you work smarter.

  • When you are organizing your workspace, remember that colours can have a psychological effect on your mood and how you feel. Finding ways to add a pop of colour to your workspace, such as picking a desk organizer or pen cup in your favourite colour, can give your workspace an added reason to smile!

2. Focus on communication

  • Communication is an important part of work. From talking to colleagues or your boss to having a conversation with a client or customer, the way we connect with others can impact how we feel, in a big way!

  • If you’re practicing physical distancing, working remotely, or are in physical isolation, effective communication can be more challenging, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be close to feel close. Thanks to Wi-Fi and technology such as webcams, noise cancelling headphones, and portable ring lights , you can stay well connected to your colleagues and clients, no matter where you are working.

3. Shift your focus

  • What you focus on is what you tend to notice in your life. If you’re always focused on the things that upset or frustrate you, then that is often what will influence your perception of reality. One of the simplest ways to boost your happiness at work is to shift what you are focusing on. By noticing and focusing on things that make you feel happy, you train your brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on happy things.

  • Try making a habit of looking around and noticing the good by writing down one good thing that happened to you at work each day or a happy memory from your workday in a journal or an environmentally friendly, reusable notebook.

4. Do something nice for someone

  • Happiness helps spur kindness and generosity. When you do something nice for someone it releases endorphins (feel good hormones) that activate the parts of your brain associated with happiness, pleasure, and social connection. When you are happy, it increases the likelihood that you will be altruistic; and when you are altruistic it makes you feel happier.

  • Especially at work, a kind gesture can go a long way to your boost mood (it feels nice to do something for someone) as well as your colleague or client’s mood, and it can increase connection, collaboration, trust, and teamwork. Remember that small things, such as recording birthdays in a planner and sending a note on someone's special day,  can make a difference. Try sending an email, or a Post-it note if you are in-person, to celebrate someone’s accomplishment on a project or their great work in a meeting - it can make a big impact on both of your days.

Gillian Mandich is a member of the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council, a collective of industry experts and thought leaders across the fields of tech, productivity, design, ergonomics, and more. The Council supports our community in the new world of work with expert insight, thought leadership and informative content to work smarter, learn more and grow every day. Find out more about the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council and its members here.

By Gillian Mandich

December 10, 2021

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