The word “love” is not a word many of us associate with work, as work is about function, purpose and necessity, while love is a blissful emotion associated with immense happiness.
Like the personal relationships we have in our lives, our relationship with our job can often present the same challenges and play the same role in influencing our day-to-day happiness.
If you were asked to rate “love” and “work” on life’s happiness barometer, it would be rare to find them on the same scale, but think about the 168 hours there are in a week and how many of those you spend working. So learning to love your day job is vital to achieving a happy balance both at and away from the office.
You need to treat work more like a relationship in an effort to see its positive benefits.
It takes two
Like love, work is a two-way street — if you don’t feel satisfied about what you’re getting out of your role, then you should give more to your day-to-day activities.
Sometimes, you only get out what you put in. Thinking of ways to improve your basic daily tasks can give you more satisfaction and provide more value to those around you.
In the same way, contributing more to your team or getting involved in social activities at work might hold the key to a healthier two-way relationship.
Openness and honesty
Like a relationship, employees should be in regular communication with their team and management, not just to know what’s happening on particular projects but also to form good habits so that when issues or challenges arise, they can be addressed, discussed and dealt with in a timely, mature manner.
If something is annoying you or you want to give positive feedback, it’s a whole lot easier with open lines of communication. Trust and empathy go a long way in building positive, long-term connections with people to help carry you through good times and bad.
Sense of humour
Make time to laugh with people whom you work with — the physical and emotional benefits of laughter are overwhelming. Laughter reduces stress, relaxes your body and boosts your immune system, not to mention the effect it has on positivity and productivity levels in the workplace. Laughter can shatter tension, lift the spirit of a group and break the ice in difficult situations.
Take a break
Not taking “time out” from work often leads to stress and finding yourself bogged down in the little things. For many employees, a short break can really improve motivation levels and help them to remember what it is they love and miss about their work — whether it is a sense of achievement, purpose or the people around us.
Taking time out to rebalance and re-energise also gives you a fresh, clear and healthy perspective on who you are, what you want to do and what you want to achieve.
Generally, small things that may have been annoying you will soon dissipate after a well-earned break and it can result in a new-found love for your job.
Getting the spark back
A great way to feel inspired about work again is through learning and developing new skills. A new area of interest or the motivation to boost your position by adding another notch to your skills belt is a great way to breathe new life into your attitude and energy in the workplace.
Knowing you have a new stream of learning can really help you reignite the passion you once had for what you do. It can also make your day-to-day job easier, saving you time and boosting your productivity.
Look back on your achievements, celebrate positive milestones and map out new goals, as this can be refreshing and energising for you, rather than feeling like you are treading the same path, hoping that something interesting will happen.
Think about how you would like your daily work to look, and start to create something that is meaningful and enjoyable every day.
Work may not always be smooth sailing and, like a relationship, it may require a little extra effort at times, but with challenges come growth, satisfaction and a healthy relationship that can be deeply rewarding.