The daily challenge of being happy at work

Discover the daily challenge of being happy at work and surprise yourself with these tips. Don't miss out.

Discover the daily challenge of being happy at work.

Gaspar González Jurado-Gutiérrez

Reading time: 13 min

Imagine if going to work was something you really looked forward to. If the money you earn took a back seat and working made you happier. It may sound idealistic, but for some people, this is a reality. They don’t just get up to do their jobs, they get up to enjoy what they do. So why not try to get closer to that reality? It may not be easy, but it is achievable. I invite you to join me on this challenging journey on the pursuit of happiness at work.

Defying the statistics: perspectives on happiness at work

A job that is born out of passion is like when an artist loves what they do and dedicates themselves to it, or when someone finds real purpose in what they do. These kinds of jobs fill most of your life and give you many reasons to feel motivated. But, most jobs are not as exciting or fulfilling.

Gallup’s latest report on job satisfaction came up with a worrying figure: only one in eight workers worldwide is happy with their job. This is not a superficial study, as it is based on results gathered from 142 countries and 25 million workers worldwide. In Spain, the situation is not very encouraging either. As many as 62 percent of respondents feel disconnected from their work, while 20 percent say they feel very disconnected. Only 18 per cent are satisfied. Globally, 87 per cent of people feel “emotionally disconnected from their jobs and less likely to be productive”. Which group are you in? If you are in the small group that is satisfied, congratulations. But if you identify with the dissatisfied, there is still hope. Don’t be discouraged.

The importance of being a person before being a professional

If you do a Google search with the term “Being happy at work…”, you will find a variety of articles, reflections, videos, tips, keys, recipes, among others. However, none of them will reveal a basic tidbit from the 1st Work Happiness Course: to be happy at work, it is essential to remember that, before being a professional, you are a person.

Certainly, the “professional” sphere constitutes one of the three spheres of influence we all possess: family, social and professional. And I would go so far as to say that it is practically impossible to achieve happiness at work (professional aspect) if you do not also experience it in your family and social environment.

Let me put it another way. With an average lifespan of 79 years, we spend one third (yes, one third!) sleeping, which equates to an impressive 26 years in the realm of dreams. The time spent studying is around 3 years, and if we add in the hours spent on housework, bam, we’re talking a staggering 8 years. Now, with an average career spanning 45 years, working 40 hours a week, we are faced with the reality that we work for about 12 years. What about time spent with the kids, retirement and those “free” years? It turns out that we have about 30 years left to enjoy life.

Now, let’s count the percentages, not counting the hours of sleep. The family sphere makes up 45% of our existence, the social sphere 32%, and the work sphere takes its share with 23%. With these figures, it is clear that our time at work carries weight, and a lot of it! As do the other two areas. So, to be happy, one has to be happy in all three areas. This does not mean that we cannot deal with conflicting situations from time to time in one of these areas – we are all protagonists in our own soap opera!

It is therefore crucial to remember that our identity as individuals goes beyond our professional identity. While it is legitimate to seek satisfaction at work, we must be aware that focusing exclusively on the work environment does not guarantee full fulfilment and total happiness.

When our family, social and professional facets are balanced and filled with happiness, we are better prepared to face challenges at work. The workplace, although essential, is only one of the settings (23% of the total number of years of our lives) in which we develop as people. It should be an element that contributes positively and complements the other areas of our lives.

Achieving a balance between the different parts of our existence, including family life, social relationships and work, is essential. Placing too much emphasis on one of these aspects to the detriment of the others can lead to an imbalance that negatively affects the whole. When there is harmony between the various areas of our lives, everything functions more cohesively and satisfactorily.

The Happiness Game: reflections of a headless chicken

In our crazy, hectic society, we all go through life like headless chickens, full of emotions and with adrenaline pumping. It’s like living on an endless emotional roller coaster! But the worst thing is that we don’t even have time to scratch our heads. With so much going on… Who has time to think about what’s important in life? Or about our happiness?

It’s true that we don’t really know what happiness is. Everyone sees it differently, and, frankly, we don’t even know how to measure it. What is clear is that everyone is responsible for their own happiness. While it is true that this happiness thing is subjective, unhappiness is clear to me: “not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it”.

We all have our secret recipe for happiness. Some people seek happiness in having a lot of things, as if they were constantly hungry for objects. But you know what? In the end, we all agree on one thing: true happiness has no labels and is not in the shops.

What really makes us happy is deeper. It’s like grandma’s secret sauce that no one knows about. It lies within us, in how we live each day and how we value each moment.

Happiness is not like a GPS that takes you to a specific place, I wish! It is more like an adventure game in which everyone has their own way. True happiness is not behind the latest iPhone, but within us. It is as if we have a treasure stored in our heart. When we learn to appreciate what we already have and stop pining for what we have not yet achieved, voilà! True happiness appears as if by magic.

So, let’s stop the frantic search and breathe! Inhale gratitude and exhale stress. Let’s appreciate every moment with the eyes of the heart and embrace life with serenity and fulfilment. Because true happiness is in the present, ready to be discovered by each one of us.

I share with you my own definition of Happiness:

For me, Happiness is getting up, practising to be the best person you can be, enjoying life with the people you love, seeking to change the lives of the people around you for the better, going to bed and sleeping like an angel.

The happiness revolution at work: from money to personal fulfilment

Until recently, people saw work as something to earn money. If you also liked it and were happy during those eight hours (or however many), that was good, but it was not the most important thing when choosing a job.

But now, for a few years, there are studies on happiness at work that show how important it is to feel good at work. Some companies even have someone called a “Chief Happiness Officer” whose job is to make workers feel good. This not only makes them work better, but also improves their quality of life.

Now, employees are not only thinking about pay. Many surveys of young professionals conclude that, while pay is important to them when leaving a job, when choosing a new one, they value more having a good work-life balance and opportunities to learn and grow on the job. All these little things together are called the “emotional wage”.

The art of being happy at work

First I want to tell you that, although we tend to talk about “being” happy, happiness is really an emotion and therefore cannot be permanent. It would be more correct to talk about “being happy”.

I also want to tell you that it is fine to seek to be happy at work, but don’t get obsessed with it! Sometimes we dream of having the perfect job, but it is important to know that there is no such thing as a perfect job, boss or company. Moreover, it can and does happen that even the job that seems idyllic today can frustrate us sooner rather than later.

Sometimes the stress at work can be strong, and even if we do what we like to do, we may not always feel good about it. The important thing to know is that it’s OK not to always be happy at work, and that’s perfectly fine!

Let’s be happy! Discovering the two faces of joy

Scientific research has identified two distinct ways of experiencing happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. The former manifests itself in moments of joy and pleasure that arise from pleasant and exciting experiences, such as enjoying a fun event. On the other hand, eudaimonic happiness is closely linked to feeling fully fulfilled and engaged in activities that reflect goodness, meaning and adherence to one’s values.

Both forms of happiness have their importance, but the latter, eudaimonic happiness, reveals its relevance particularly in the workplace and in the pursuit of new experiences. This dimension of happiness is not only limited to ephemeral moments of pleasure, but focuses on personal fulfilment and engagement in activities that bring deeper meaning to life.

By adopting a eudaimonic perspective at work, we not only face work challenges and fears more effectively, but also cultivate a deeper sense of satisfaction and purpose in our professional lives. The pursuit of eudaimonic happiness at work thus becomes a path that goes beyond momentary gratification, offering a deeper connection to our aspirations and core values.

Achieving happiness in the work environment is a shared thing that involves both the company and the employees. It is the company’s responsibility to create an environment that fosters personal growth and to constantly assess how its work practices contribute to overall well-being. It is not simply a matter of enjoying isolated moments of happiness, such as the end-of-year festivities, but of integrating the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental component of the company’s day-to-day operations.

To build a truly happy work environment, it is essential that the company takes a long-term view, defines a clear purpose and fosters strong relationships between team members. This not only boosts employee well-being, but also strengthens the organisational culture. The key is to understand that happiness is not an isolated component, but a vital element in the very structure of the company.

However, each team member also plays a key role in this process. Each employee must reflect on how they can contribute to making their working environment happier, both for themselves and for their colleagues. This individual responsibility can manifest itself in daily actions, such as fostering a positive environment, practising empathy and working collaboratively. By taking a proactive approach to happiness at work, employees not only improve their own well-being, but also contribute to the flourishing of a healthier and more productive work environment overall.

Seven effective tips to boost your motivation in the office

I have compiled from various articles and reformulated in my own style seven tips that I found interesting for keeping motivation high in the office. Moreover, they are recommendations that can be implemented immediately.

1. The power of breaks: recharging energy for a more productive day

It is essential that you take breaks throughout the day. It is not possible to maintain a state of contentment if we cannot take a break during the 8 hours of work. Make the most of those minutes to get out and get some fresh air; your mind will thank you for it and you will come back with renewed energy and enthusiasm to continue.

2. Switch off autopilot: Achieve clarity and purpose in your working day.

It is common to observe how work becomes just another routine in our lives, and at the end of the day we find ourselves without a clear understanding of our activities. For this reason, I suggest you switch off the autopilot and start setting goals. It is essential to set professional goals that are tangible and, above all, achievable. This will not only boost your motivation, but also fuel your enthusiasm for your career.

3. The art of saying “No”: Keys to setting limits and being more productive

Setting limits on your workload is an essential skill. Although saying “no” can sometimes seem challenging, embracing the ability to accept only the amount of work you can actually handle has significant benefits. By setting limits, you will not only gain more time for yourself, but you will also experience an increase in your productivity and efficiency.

Consciously deciding how much you can take on ensures that you focus on the most important tasks and allows you to get quality work done. In addition, learning to say “no” when necessary not only preserves your time, but also safeguards your mental and physical well-being.

4. Productivity secrets: efficient organisation for your workspace

Organisation is essential, whether it’s managing your tasks or tidying up your space. For this reason, I suggest you dedicate a few minutes a day to clean and organise both your work environment and your email inbox. Also, planning for the day ahead is key. Knowing what tasks you will do, when you will tackle them and having a structured plan helps you avoid wasting unnecessary time.

5. Success at work: The magic of connecting with colleagues

Human relationships are a crucial component of experiencing happiness, and this is equally applicable in the work environment. Cultivating genuine connections with your colleagues goes beyond simply sharing a workspace. The ability to connect on a personal level, exchange laughter and share experiences not only contributes to a positive work environment, but also has a significant impact on emotional well-being and the overall perception of the working day.

Sharing joyful moments and positive experiences with your colleagues not only improves the atmosphere in the workplace, but can also strengthen the bonds between team members. The ability to find joy and satisfaction at work comes not only from the nature of the tasks performed, but also from the meaningful relationships that are built over time.

6. Beyond individual work: enhance the collective value

Keep in mind that, although you may sometimes carry out tasks individually, the value of your work is framed in a collective context. For this reason, seek daily support from your colleagues and contribute to collaboration. It is not just about asking for feedback on a project, but also about sharing your needs, challenges and reflections with the team. This approach will contribute to a better working environment and make you feel more comfortable and satisfied in your work.

7. Don’t rely on external praise: Discover the power of internal recognition

Although it is gratifying to receive recognition from your colleagues and/or boss for your work, I strongly recommend that you do not always depend on it, as you may experience disappointment. Ideally, you should be the one who values your daily efforts the most and be aware of the importance of your work, both for your professional development and for the success of the company you work for.


Contact our communication department or requests additional material.

Telefónica Centenary logo Celebrate with us the Telefónica Centenary