This informal CPD article on Monitoring Your Workplace Happiness was provided by Alison, Free Online Learning Provider.
Our relationship with our work is always changing. Changes in management, new colleagues and clients and office relocations (covid!) can all mean that our experience of work is in constant flux, even if we're technically doing the same job.
As your workplace evolves, how you feel about it might also change and not always for the better. Perhaps a new manager has reduced your responsibilities, or maybe you don't see eye-to-eye with a new colleague. If you've held the same position for a while, changes in how you actually feel about your daily experience of work might not register consciously. However, a suboptimal work life can lead to stress and unhappiness, so it's important to always monitor how you feel about your work situation, especially if conditions are changing.
Upskilling Changes Everything
If you're regularly upskilling, it's vital that you keep track of your worth and thus your value. You might find that, all of a sudden, you're worth a lot more than your job is giving you, both financially and in terms of responsibility and appreciation.
If you're applying your new skills and knowledge to your work and thus adding value to the business, you need to be regularly asking yourself, are your new skills being appropriately recognised, utilised and remunerated? If, as a result of your professional development, you're being underpaid or feeling under-stimulated then this can lead to job dissatisfaction and unhappiness at work.
Is it what you signed up for?
Two years into working your dream job, the company moves to a new office across town. Now your commute is twice what it was. Is it still your dream job? The company you always wanted to work for is cutting back on staff, and you're now working twice as many hours for the same money. Do you still want to work for them? When you love your work, it can be hard to recognise that it has become something that no longer brings you joy. It's important to always remain aware of your priorities and that you recognise when your work no longer aligns with them.
Are you being held back?
As your career progresses, your priorities and goals will naturally change. You may find that, over time, your ambitions no longer align with those of the company you work for. Perhaps, as a young graduate, you took up a position with an emerging start-up that was full of energy and ideas and you're now finding that, while you're as ambitious as ever, the company has plateaued. These changes can occur slowly and you might only realise them gradually yourself. However, if you find that your dream job from five years ago is holding you back, then it's time to do some soul-searching and possibly make some tough decisions.
Time to move on?
Sometimes you'll start a job with the intention of it only being a stop-gap. Then the work begins, or life gets in the way, and you forget that it was just supposed to tide you over until something better came along. It's very easy to find yourself in a rut at work, particularly if you're being kept busy or you enjoy the workplace environment. But you need to be honest with yourself and true to your ambitions. Are you as satisfied as you could be? Is it time to start looking for something more in line with your expectations of yourself? While it can seem a daunting task to start looking for a new job, especially if you're comfortable where you are, if you know that you're not living up to your potential, then it's time to move on.
Your workplace happiness isn't just affected by how you're feeling about your job. The human relationships that make up your professional life are integral to how you feel about work. One of the most common causes of workplace dissatisfaction are issues between coworkers that don't get dealt with and become bigger issues than they should be.
Rather than confront issues head-on, it can be easier to sweep them under the carpet. The problem is that once they've been swept under, work conflicts not only continue to cause stress and anxiety, but you can forget that they're the cause of your unhappiness at work.
Dealing with issues as they arise, making use of your company's existing HR protocols and regularly appraising your workplace happiness are vital ways of making sure that you're feeling fulfilled and content in your job.
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