5 Ways to Work Happier

Most of us have encountered that lukewarm state of occupational being, a stalemate in productivity. Like an amoeba,  it seems to seep in through the stagnant days of an uninspiring environment, basking in the glare of those awful fluorescent lights overhead. Boost your workplace happiness-- and subsequently your bosses' -- with these inspirational ideas.  

1.) Treat Yourself

Ladies: If you're anything like me, a little femininity goes a long way. While it is neither professional nor practical to flood your workspace with girly decor, simple things such as cute stationary, notepads, or perhaps a pink pen can add that little bit of "pretty" to your day. I personally set my PC's desktop to a custom theme-- a slight peekaboo of pink in my browser window adds some ownership to my web-based tasks throughout the day.

Gentlemen: Add some "flair" to your space with a mousepad supporting your favorite sports team, or perhaps an engraved chrome pen-holder. Slight personalization of your work environment can mean big things for your creativity, responsiveness, and accountability.  

2.) Opt for Ergonomic Make life a little easier for yourself. Swapping out heavily used and often dated items (keyboard, mouse, chair, monitor) for more "human-friendly" solutions can drastically improve your office experience. My favorite? The yoga ball. A former coworker of mine rolled hers in on her first day, and I quite frankly thought she was insane. That, or a hippie. Come to find out, those core-strengthening spheres can provide a multifaceted alternative to your standard office chair! By constantly engaging your abdominal muscles to maintain a correct posture on the yoga ball, you are working your abs and supporting your lower back. If you can resist the urge to "bounce" all day, this can be a great way to decrease pain and increase happiness!  

3.) Natural Light Fluorescent lighting offers brightness, but not the kind you're looking for. Studies show that prolonged exposure to fluorescent lights can cause migraines, eye strain, and increased anxiety. Give your eyes a break-- there are several cost effective (and even free!) methods to combat that flickering fluorescent menace. For a few hours each day, shut those suckers off, open the blinds, and allow daylight to illuminate your tasks. You'd be surprised by how much more you can accomplish! Don't have windows? Try "full-spectrum" or "daylight-spectrum" bulbs which more closely replicate natural sunlight, providing better color temperature. Alternatively, there are filters available that serve a similar purpose as these daylight-spectrum bulbs, allowing you to make use of any remaining florescent bulbs your office has stocked.  

4.) The Color of Character As Frederick Douglass once said, "A man's character always takes its hue, more or less, from the form and color of things about him." Modern science supports this theory. Certain colors incite positive emotion and inspire us, while others provoke aggression and discontent. How is your office influencing your psychological well-being? Studies show that while white walls are a common choice for businesses, they do not aid-- and could quite possibly hinder-- the productivity of employees.

 A 1999 study found that employees working in white-walled offices experienced more nausea and headaches than their counterparts working in red or blue workspaces. White is often associated with sterility, and isn't likely to spark ingenuity. Studies show that the most conducive colors for an office environment include orange, red, blue, green, and yellow. While orange and red can be overpowering, they are thought to encourage the most creativity. Yellow walls can improve brain function and memorization in some individuals, and blue is considered the "most productive" color. Green is the color of balance, and is recommended for offices in which reassurance is needed-- i.e. an industry in which money is changing hands. Wondering which color to pitch for your office? The answer varies. Many professionals recommend a mix of colors, as it shown that individuals can experience the benefits of several key hues simultaneously. Angela Wright, world-renowned color psychologist, suggests a primary shade of blue with "pops" of orange. Her best advice, however, is to carefully consider the nature of your work and paint accordingly. Ask us how wall graphics can transform your office!  

5.) Smile No matter how artfully decorated your office may be, there will be days where the world gets to you. Deadlines looming on the horizon, bosses breathing down your neck, phones ringing off the hook. As the stress swells into a fervor, your productivity will likely decrease... markedly.

The best advice I've ever received goes as follows: half-smile. Your lips are probably pursed in frustration and verging on a scowl, so smiling seems out of the question. Grab a pen and place it between your teeth, like a dog bone, and relax. The physiological response is incredible- that forced "half-smile" is a form of somatic conditioning, proven to improve psychological functioning. Interrupt any resistance toward difficult tasks at hand with a minute long half-smile and get back to happy!