The benefits of finding a job you like are many, feeling comfortable at work having a big impact on your well-being, even outside of the office. We’ve summed up 5 practical advice that you can use to identify or build a positive work environment, if you’re looking to improve the situation at your current work or you’re searching for a new job and organisational culture is important to you.
That being said, what is a good working environment? What factors are important in making us feel comfortable at work?
You feel satisfied
Feeling that you can and are allowed to perform well is one of the most important happiness factors for employees. As an employee, you want to feel that you can influence and contribute, which really means you need to see results about what you do.
At your current job: If you want to feel that you are performing and constantly developing, it’s good to always strive to reach new goals. If you notice your progress, you will feel more confident that you are doing a good job. Define clear goals with your manager and monitor their progress over a longer period of time. It will give you a clear idea of your contribution and it will make your manager more aware of your achievements.
For job seekers: Keep your eyes open and look for signs that your future team is driven and results-oriented. These may be signs of regular follow-up meetings with the direct manager. You can ask managers and senior colleagues how they define success and move things forward.
You feel appreciated
Feeling appreciated is regarded as one of the most important happiness factors at work. People want to feel that they are doing a good job and that they are appreciated by their employers. This can of course be shown in many different ways – from a simple “thank you” to an increased salary.
At your current job: If you don’t get feedback, ask your direct manager about reconciliation meetings. Just because your leader doesn’t show appreciation doesn’t mean that you are doing a bad job – it may be that your manager isn’t even aware of the situation or simply doesn’t have the time to share feedback as often as you’d expect.
For job seekers: Do your research about what other employees think and say about their workplace. Do they feel appreciated? Do they hear that they did a good job? Do they get clear directives and feedback? These are good comments and questions to have an eye on when you read reviews about the company.
You have like-minded colleagues
Employees who like their colleagues have a greater chance of being happy at work, because relationships are one of the biggest drivers of happiness in our lives.
At your current job: Make sure not to be the colleague who only speaks about the job all the time. Show a genuine interest in your peers and their interests. And who knows, your might build some strong friendships and personal connections as well.
For job seekers: Find out more about who is part of your future workplace. Ask the interviewer about what he or she thinks about the atmosphere in the team, both formally and informally. And as a bonus, it also raises your chances of being considered for the job if you show interest in their company beyond the job or salary from the very first start.
You have ownership over your work
Employees that have control over their work usually have a higher degree of satisfaction and experience less stress. Autonomy is an important factor that influences well-being, and ultimately impacts your personal motivation and ability to have a positive impact.
At your current job: Sometimes it may seem that you are the last person who has the power to influence your work satisfaction, but you can absolutely negotiate and ask your leader/mentor if you can get more responsibility, or some flexibility in setting your own goals and future challenges. Even in companies that are more strict, you could gain your territory, but do start asking, not just expect it.
For job seekers: If you’re looking for a workplace to thrive and have big responsibility from the very first day – your could already strat to clarify your expectations with future employers already during the interview process. Say that you prefer to make your own decisions about your job and your workplace. Or emphasise that you do a great job by clear directives, but already start communicating with your employer what your needs are in this direction.
You have something to be proud of
Employees who are proud of their job, their employers and their achievements have a bigger chance to be happy in their work life and thrive more than others. This trend is becoming particularly important, with a majority of millenials naming organisational culture one of the top factors based on which they evaluate a company.
At your current job: For some people, it is important to work with high-performing, well known companies in the industry. But a genuine sense of accomplishment comes from doing a great job together with like-minded colleagues, so define what that means for you, and surround yourself with the type of work and people that bring you the most value.
For job seekers: Make a list of things that you’d value the most about your future workplace. What makes you feel proud about yourself and the company you work for? Then look for companies that share your interests and prioritise those that are most aligned with your values and expectations.
One last idea we’d like to leave you with
It’s not always that you need to do something as drastically as changing a profession or even your work to increase your job satisfaction. Often it is enough to just become aware of what it is that gives you energy and find ways to get more of it at your workplace. Just define what you want!