As anyone who has ever worked in an office knows, it’s all about routine, routine, and more routine. For a naturally positive person (such as myself), this can be pretty draining, not to mention disheartening. Stickers with deadlines on the wall, a clock that is endlessly stalked by all eyes, and windows that open onto another office, in another adjacent building definitely don’t help, either. And papers, of course — stacks and stacks of papers.
This is how I came to refer to my work (at a writing service) as “Paper Land”.
Needless to say, I was not surprised when I saw the results of the Gallup study on work engagement — but it did grant me some strong determination. According to this 142-country study, only about one in eight employees around the workplace are committed to their jobs and are ready to make positive contributions to their companies. This means only 13 percent of the office workforce are actually happily engaged while at their jobs.
As I said, the poll left me with a feeling of determination — I became interested in changing these horrible statistics and making a difference. Well, at least for me and people at my office.
What Made My Office Life Happier
During the course of several months, I tried a number of things in order to really turn my office life upside down and make it more fun for myself and others. Some of them were unsuccessful, of course, but I wouldn’t have identified the successful strategies without the ‘failures’. Moreover, I took a lot of pride in my attempts, because I produced my own results that I could share with you here, as somewhat of a social scientist.
When I first joined the office, I didn’t know anybody there, so it was a pretty miserable experience for me as a positive and social person. Everyone seemed to be so overloaded with work that office conversations other topics were quite rare. Given that I did not want to talk about work for the entire day every day, this was somewhat of a nightmare for me.
But I persisted in being who I was, and things eventually changed — at least in my little bubble. One of my colleagues came to me looking for some advice on a topic I knew a little about, and I ended up providing some excellent support for their project — but most importantly, the process of collaboration was fun! Eventually, she became my best friend at work and we did nearly all of our projects together; as a result, it created a support system for both of us, resulting in our work not only getting done more quickly, but with also with better results.
Another tactic that worked was diet. It’s pretty simple: nutrition and hydration influence your health and energy levels, so if you don’t eat right, all kinds of things will slowly but surely ‘go awry’. For me, it was being tired before I even got out of bed.
How did I fix it? Again, pretty simple: I stayed away from refined foods rich in sugar, as well as bread, and added more fruits and vegetables to my diet. Apples, bananas, and a variety of vegetables were my staples. I’m not much of a cook, but I put together some healthy dishes with recipes I found on the internet, and started drinking more water between meals. As a result, I was more energized and produced better work in turn.
Focus on the Positive
The next strategy that worked was focusing on positive things. I created a list of things that I liked about my work and started to focus more often on them than on the negative, which allowed me to avoid being overwhelmed and become more positive at work. For example, I started to appreciate the sense of humor my supervisor had. Eventually, these tactics even got spread around the office!
Office life does not have to be miserable. In my experience, all it takes is a little bit of personal effort and focus. Now, things are much better. I have my close circle of office friends ready to help and support, and I even managed to otranslate some of these tactics to life outside of the office.
Now, instead of calling it “my work place” I can finally say that it is my “Sweet Paper Land.” 🙂