Most people can’t wait for the weekend. There are endless jokes and cultural memes about Thank God It’s Friday and resenting when Monday comes back around.
In my experience though, after a long weekend or vacation I usually find myself less happy than when I am working regularly and getting things done. The sense of purpose and accomplishment that I get from work I generally don’t get from play.
A lot of studies have shown the same effect: people are most satisfied when they have a sense of purpose and accomplishment and meaning.
I definitely can get burnt out by work as well; having bad relationships with clients or our team members definitely is very frustrating for me and makes me want to take a break. I try to protect our team from these sorts of issues if I can myself.
Research shows that the following 5 elements are key to happiness at work:
- Work that challenges you. For my team, I try to give them career development plans and goals that allow them to move up as fast as they want to put in the work to do.
- A sense of progress. I try to provide concrete measurements and KPIs to my team so they can see their progress and improvement.
- Avoiding using sticks and instead motivate people by having a great team and culture.
- Providing autonomy – I am not as good at this aspect as I like to micromanage and get my hands in everything.
- Belonging. Our company now has the best culture we’ve ever had and people seem to generally be pretty happy working with each other. I am instituting a board game night tonight and if people like it we will do it weekly!