Choosing to Find Your Happy Place at Work

By: Steve Cox
Jul 11, 2016 12:05 PM ET

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

—Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes finding happiness must be very intentional but simply knowing happiness is a choice is not enough. Experiencing it requires a conscious decision every day and it is not always easy.

A while ago one woman took the Internet by storm with her Facebook Live video gone viral. Candace Payne, otherwise known as “Chewbacca Lady,” bought a noise-making Chewbacca mask, put it on, laughed quite a bit, and shared her experience on Facebook. The video has garnered over 159 million views and millions of likes. Whether you love Star Wars or you have no idea what a Chewbacca is, one thing for certain is that Candace Payne most likely brought a smile to your face.

It’s probably a good thing she made you grin, because chances are you aren’t happy with your current job. According to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 70% of Americans either hate their job or are completely disengaged, leading to immense unhappiness. Unhappiness not only takes a toll on your work, with unhappy workers being 31% less productive than happy workers, but on your physical well-being as well, with 1 in 10 strokes being due to work-related stress. Those who are happier at work have 3 times more creativity than their counterparts and are much more likely to stick with their job, reducing turnover.

Simply put, happiness is a vital component in your work life. Luckily, as Chewbacca Lady has taught us, happiness isn’t always that hard to find. Sometimes, all it takes is putting on a toy mask to create a contagious amount of happiness that spreads to millions. When it comes to work, there are a few tricks to finding happiness.

First, there is a strong correlation between engagement and happiness. The more engaged you are, the happier you’ll tend to be. It’s easy to remain passive and solely do the work your supervisor assigns you. However, if you actively approach your tasks and find ways to mold them into something you want to do, you’ll find them more enjoyable. Over time, you can slowly mold your job description into its most ideal version, therefore increasing your happiness, productivity and benefit to the company.

Another way to increase overall happiness at work is to foster workplace friendships. Those who have 3 or more good friends at work are 96% more likely to be satisfied with their overall quality of life. While friendships do need to come a bit naturally, small acts can spark the kindling that’s needed to make a friendship occur. Saying “Good Morning!” to your fellow coworkers or baking cookies for the office can show that you care about your colleagues, and they will be likely to return the sentiment. Overall, having a best friend at work leads you to be more engaged and productive, and gives you a friendly face to look forward to during your morning commute.

Lastly, as Chewbacca Lady says, “it’s the simple joys.” From that mug of delicious smelling coffee to the free donuts someone brought in to work, it’s the simple joys that are important to look for and appreciate. It’s natural to get upset and be frustrated, but getting caught in the negativity and never letting go can be detrimental. Actively seeking smiles, laughs and positivity throughout the day will lead to a much higher quality of life at work and at home.

Sodexo is committed to improving performance and enhancing quality of life for the individuals, organizations and communities we serve. Where do you find your happiness at work? Share some ideas in the comment section.


Steve Cox leads Public Relations for Sodexo North America with $9B in annual revenue, 125,000 employees, 9,000 operating sites and 15 million consumers served daily.