From Our Readers
March 26, 2014 6:00 am

Disclaimer: I am not counting blatant abuse of employees in this article. If you are being treated terribly and are miserable, you need to decide what is best for you.

Some days at work can be rough. A project may have gone awry. A group of coworkers always goes out after work without you. Maybe the boss is giving you the stink eye. No matter what the issue is, work can sometimes make you feel down in the dumps. Fortunately, you don’t have to change jobs or move to another city (at least not yet).

There are ways to make where you work more enjoyable – and why shouldn’t you? You likely spend at least 40 hours a week in this place, so being able to have fun there is important, not only for your mental health, but for your job performance, as well. Employees who are able to enjoy work are much more productive than employees who don’t.

So what can be done…

Every work place is different. Some offices have 30 people and some have 2. Some offices are located in buildings with other companies and some have their own buildings. All of these tips can be applied in some way to your work setting.

Remembering that more responsibility means you’re GOOD at your job.

Getting more responsibility? No biggie! You rock at your job! That’s why they gave you more to do. Go, you! Don’t take it as an affront or something bad. I get pretty anxious when asked to take on new and big tasks, but I always smile and thank whoever has given me the assignment, and remember that it’s because I’m doing a good job that they want me to do this, not as punishment. Now get out there and show them what you can do!

Make your desk your sanctuary.

I always forget to do this, I’ll admit, until I’ve been at a job for a certain amount of time. This stems from when I got fired from a temp job after a month, and had to have them mail me back my stuff. I try to do it now because I spend a lot of time at work, and I want to make sure my desk is somewhere I want to be. Put up pictures that make you happy, and that you don’t mind answering questions about, because people will ask about that picture of the beach from 1997 where you were holding someone’s hand. They will ask. Don’t put up pictures that are inappropriate or not office-friendly. Aromatherapy is also a wonderful thing, so if you want your desk area smelling good, I would look into that.

Make at least allies with your co-workers.

Sure, we all want to be friends, but sometimes it’s not feasible at work. Some work environments are more professional than others. Some co-workers you can complain to and have drinks with, and others you can barely get them to drink coffee with you. It just varies by workplace, but I hope you will at least consider trying to be-friend your co-workers. They can be your greatest allies.

Make friends with others in the building.

I have worked in a few places where my company wasn’t the only one in the building. That was great, because even if I didn’t have friends in my own office (which sometimes I didn’t), I was able to talk to people in the elevator, by the water fountain, or even just walking down the hallway. These are the folks who can get the newspaper for you when your office is closed, and also grab a beer after work. And new friends!

Put your phone in your desk and leave it there.

You can’t properly socialize with co-workers if you’re constantly checking your phone. You also probably have an issue getting work done if your phone is always out. Put it away. I say this with loving kindness. Unless someone needs to get a hold of you for an urgent issue, say a family member is in the hospital, put it away. If that is the case, let your boss know so he or she isn’t wondering why you’re phone is constantly out.

Institute casual Fridays (or some sort of special dress day).

I like wearing jeans to work. I don’t get to very often, but when I do I enjoy it. So do a lot of people. Casual Fridays help you break out of that stuffy getting-dressed-up routine. I remember in high school during Spirit Week getting to dress up all kinds of crazy. Hawaiian shirt day, pajama day (although that one is not likely to ever happen at work, unless you work at home, then lucky you), etc. The point is, it was something fun that everyone wanted to do. I know when I’m dressed more casually, I’m more relaxed, and I’m more likely to get over my shyness and speak to people (we can talk about my shyness some other time).

Take a vacation.

So you’ve got 20,000 vacation days built up? That’s great! Now take 5 of them. I find that I function more effectively if I give myself a break every now and again. Everyone needs a break some time. So do you. Have you been working on a project for months and it’s finally done? Reward yourself with a vacation (or staycation, I don’t care, as long as you get out of the office for a few days). This means that one person has your cell phone number for emergencies (I mean absolute emergencies) and you have no contact with work for the week. Let your brain recharge. You will be glad you did.

Work can be a fun place, just like home is a fun place!

Laura Glesing is in public service and loves to write as a hobby. She is thinking of starting a blog. Laura loves coffee and thinks the occasional margarita is a necessity. Follow her on Twitter.

Featured Image via ShutterStock.

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