Finding Happiness At Work

Dealing with workplace bullies

* Talk to the HR department if you have a bully in your workplace

* Never speak to bullies when they are angry.

* Confront them calmly about their behaviour, eg “most people would find that language offensive”.

* Be brave, because bullies aren’t. What is the worst thing that can happen?

* Sometimes, having a third party present in discussions with one of these people can be helpful.

Surviving the open-plan office

If you are in an open-plan situation, consider the following:

* Try to personalise your own space as much as possible. Fill it with your “stuff” of necessity — space is at a premium. Something green and growing will often break up the harshness of this environment.

* Angle your workstation to minimise visual and auditory distraction cause by movement within the office. People tend to move down well-established “corridors” in open-plan offices. These are to be avoided where possible.

* Make use of private areas as much as possible.

* Consider working from home as an option for some part of the working week.

Taking charge

Having looked at some factors outside ourselves that may affect wellbeing, it must be said that the primary responsibility for our wellbeing rests clearly in our own hands.

There is much that can be done to counter the negative effects of work on our enjoyment of being alive. You will note that every suggestion requires action. No one delivers happiness to your door. Failure to act could result in “burnout”.

These include:

Relationships: The most important single determinant of psychological wellbeing is the quality of social supports, ie important relationships. They require effort to stay in contact, to arrange to do things together, to remember important anniversaries etc. Relationships provide support, can be a sounding board and can help give one perspective in difficult situations.

Goals: Review where you are in your life and whether it’s consistent with your values and your longer-term aspirations. Include non-work goals here. They are of equal importance. Do this annually, eg on your birthday. Write things down. Be prepared to alter them at any time. Consider this “a work in progress”. The more distant the goal, the less specific it can be and vice versa.

Art, music, literature, film and theatre: These are part of our culture for a very good reason. They make us feel good. To explore them needs effort, but the payoff is enormous. Remember how good you felt the last time you heard some good music? Sounds like important brain chemistry to me.

Physical wellbeing: The commonest prescription any doctor should write is for “regular aerobic exercise”. How regular? Three to five times a week for at least 30–40 minutes. Try to do it somewhere pleasant with good company. Remember to keep track of your health as the years pass. Eat more fish, eat less animal fat, eat more vegies and fruit and eat less sweet stuff. There is no distinction between physical and psychological health. They are intimately related.

Drugs and alcohol: Beware drugs and alcohol. They work as a short-term fix but produce a world of physical, psychological and interpersonal grief if abused.

Spirituality: If you are so inclined, spiritual matters also merit the time you invest. This might take the form of a formal religious commitment. It might be something altruistic such as charitable works. It might be the consideration of a more mindfulness-based approach to life. Mindfulness is increasingly appealing in Western cultures. It tailors the essence of Eastern religion to this particular environment.

Read the whole article on Wellbeing here.