How To Find Happiness At Work

10 Ways To Find Happiness AT Work

It is very easy to feel “stuck” in retail. To feel stagnant and caught in a “groundhog day” routine. But, there are definitely ways to shake off that uninspired feeling. Here are some ideas to find happiness when you feel like need a infusion of HAPPINESS:

1. Do Something You LOVE Every Single Day
-If you love getting lost in visuals, build in 30 minutes to an hour to reset an area of the store or tweak your windows
(a) Perfect storytelling through your visuals/create moments for your customer to “surprise & delight”
(b) Create a great concept fixture and measure the results of product movement
(c) Work on improving the swing area (fixture placement) for improved flow and product exposure (you know what your customers want)
(d) Try new things to merchandise product by relationship to support up-selling (and improved sales)
-Start a contest for your team
(a) Create a compelling contest for your team to build momentum in challenging areas of the business
(b) Improve a key performance metric that you want to be #1 in for your area
-Brainstorm new business strategies with your team
(a) Come up with new ways to improve metrics
(b) Determine ways to include your team in recruiting efforts – how will you ALL attract the most relevant and strongest talent
-Make a training plan for your team
(a) Identify three things you want to train all your team on that month
(b) Ensure that you are working with everyone to be able to train them to proficiency on these three items
(c) Once trained, delegate these items to your team – they will be excited to help out

Make it fun – all of the above are measurable actions that you can share with your managers when you determine impact and celebrate results! Frequently, retail works within an “ask forgiveness, not permission” model so as long as you aren’t breaking a policy and you can show improved results to your leaders, you should takes some risks to see what you can have a great impact on based on your area(s) of passion in your business.

2. Make the choice to be HAPPY and reinforce that during the day
You may not always love your work, your coworkers, your bosses, your office, your store, your team, or your customers but you can find something in your day that will bring you happiness
-It is highly unlikely that ALL of these things will make your face sour every single day (if it does, you may want to start looking for a new job)
-Identify what you want to do that day – what will make you feel happy and inspire a sense of accomplishment and make that your priority
-Clean your work-space
-Decorate your work-space in a color that supports your happiness
(a) Here is a great article from About (dot) com, Color Psychology
-Listen to your favorite song/music
(a)Here is an article from Healthline, How Music Affects Our Moods
(b) From PsyBlog, 10 Magical Effects Music Has On The Mind
(c) “It’s A Good Day” – Peggy Lee; “Je Ne M’en Fais Pas” – Ian Lee; “Let’s Fall In Love” – Ella Fitzgerald; “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”- Doris Day; and pretty much anything by Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, or Gershwin are my go-to’s to give me a boost

3. Take Charge of your Professional Development
-To be Unwillng To Self-Develop is definitely a career obstacle
-Taking control of your professional development and possessing the ability to articulate your strengths and opportunities and how you are working on those opportunity areas will set you far apart from your average colleague
-You will be able to speak to your growth and development during your dialogues with your managers/senior leaders
-You will feel a great sense of accomplishment (as well you should) after learning a new competencies, which will make you feel more empowered and confident at work
-Here is a great blog post by Catherine Soliz Rey, What Are The Benefits of Continuous Personal Development

4. Ask For Feedback – Frequently
We are definitely more receptive to the nature of feedback when we are in a frame of mind to actively listen to it
-Make it a point to solicit feedback from your manager bi-weekly
-Be open to it
-Let your leadership know that you would like balanced feedback from a strength and opportunity perspective
-Let them know it is okay to give honest feedback and you would like to have a dialogue about it
(a) Here is an article from WiseBread, How To Get And Give Honest Feedback
(b) From eHow, How To Give and Receive Constructive Feedback

5. Under-Commit, Over-Deliver
-You will lose credibility, quickly, if you don’t hit the deadlines that you commit to
-Create realistic and reasonable timelines for projects and absolutely complete them early or on-time (go for early)
-This will support and benefit your workplace reputation, greatly
-Learn The Benefit to Saying “No” [see point 4 in the link]

6. Separate Yourself From All Negative Influences
In our workplaces we experience a variety of personalities
-You probably know someone who loves to gossip, someone who is always complaining, someone who is a pathological time-waster – always be civil and respectful but don’t engage or encourage their behavior
-We’ve all heard the saying “birds of a feather flock together”, surround yourself with positive influences in your workplaces
-From Harvard Gazette, Beware Those Toxic Co-Workers

7. Build Valuable Workplace Friendships
-From the brilliant minds at Globoforce, The Incredible Impact of Work Friendships (Infographic & Report)
-Go out to lunch with someone new each week
-Bring lunch for you and a friend into the office
-Plan with other colleagues a workplace outing with a “no work talk” rule, just enjoy each other’s company
-Create a monthly “Photo Friday” and snap candid photos of your office and co-workers and post them to Social Media

8. Take Your Lunch Breaks and Rest Periods Throughout The Day
-In the book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work , author Shawn Anchor states “Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory”
-According to the AMS Journal Online, Weather and Individual Happiness: “current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57°F
-According to BufferApp, The Science of How Room Temperature and Lighting Affects Our Productivity [and Mood]
-If you are able to nap, it has been proven that a 20-minute nap between 1pm and 3pm is the optimal time to re-engergize for the remainder of the day as noted in this article from Entrepreneur, Why You Should Let Your Employees Nap At Work

We work in Retail – we are about engaging, building relationships, establishing rapport – it all starts with a smile and kind words
-Smiling makes you look up to two years younger
(a) According to this WebMD blog post, Smiling Make You Look Younger
…and not that any more reasons are needed, right?!? But…
-According to this About (dot) com/Health article by Mark Stibich, Ph.D., Reasons To Smile there are 10 big reasons to smile:
(1) Smiling makes us attractive
(2) Smiling relieves stress
(3) Smiling changes our mood
(4) Smiling is contagious
(5) Smiling boost your immune system
(6) Smiling lowers your blood pressure
(7) Smiling lifts your face (making you look younger)
(8) Smiling makes you seem successful and confident
(9) Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin
(10) Smiling helps you stay positive

10. Say “Thank You”
Some retail organizations are wonderful at recognizing contribution and celebrating successes. Others, not so much, but you can make a difference to your co-workers and galavanize peer-to-peer recognition in your workplace
-Appreciation is underused but very powerful in the workplace
-You will build stronger workplace relationships by showing appreciation
-Thank you is contagious – people will remember how those two simple words made they feel and share it with others
-If your culture is really challenged in this area you can start an informal program on Social Media to help support the culture – share the platform and handle and encourage submissions
-Expect to give more thanks than you receive
-Leave handwritten notes of gratitude for a co-worker (it means more than an email)
-But, if nothing else, simply say “Thank You” to your colleagues, your customers, random people you interact with, as much as possible. It’s a phrase we don’t hear enough and it makes a huge difference in the day-to-day

Your happiness is, ultimately, up to you and how you choose to respond to the realities of life and work. Retail can be crazy, frustrating, overwhelming, unreasonable, and icky sometimes. But…it can also be rewarding, challenging, fun, exciting, and full of growth if you commit to choosing to learn from the daily demands. These 10 actions above should give you a starting point to find accomplishment in average days, true fun and enjoyment out of great days, and definite highlights to the days that seem like obstacles.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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