We all know that being given £10,000 extra a day could make a world of difference to our working lives, as could being allowed to take unlimited paid holidays. But what about the small things that could make us happier?
Not as great as free, unlimited holiday perhaps, but change doesn’t have to be big. Many people try to change their lifestyles in the new year, but what has stuck? What has really helped entrepreneurs get a handle on their at-work happiness?
Neil Westwood, managing director of Magic Whiteboard swears by an early morning swim. “It clears the head, it’s refreshing, and is very calming. It’s great for disrupting the brain and coming up with new ideas.” Just look at Archimedes! Jake Blower also uses exercise as a way to vastly improve his day. “I work best during the morning and by lunchtime I might be flagging. I use that time to go for a nice long run and soak up whatever light there is. After a hot shower I feel like I’m back to my productive self by early afternoon.” For Fiona Scott, media consultant, a 20-30 minute walk per day does the trick. “It helps clear the mind and helps provide you with perspective.”
Pets make us happy and calm. They also make us act like children, so it’s no surprise they’re happiness boosters. Max Wiseberg MD and inventor of HayMax allergy relief says that his pets make all the difference to his working life. “Working from home means I can keep real ducklings. One of them even thought I was his Dad and followed me everywhere around the office. So we now have an office duckling. We have over 30 ducklings and I can enjoy them from the window in our garden-based office. There are also hens, lambs, deer, pheasants and kites flying overhead. All that wildlife is a fantastic thing and makes such a difference to my working day.” Daniel Herman, who runs Biosynergy takes his dog to work. “Having my dog at work not only brightens up my day and ensures that I leave my desk, but also cheers up my colleagues.”
Having one day per week which you set aside to get life admin out of the way is really helpful. Brandon Ackroyd is a founder of tech company Tiger Mobiles. He explained how he struggled with work-life balance:
“My week now has four focus days and one buffer day per week. And Saturday and Sundays are totally off limits for work related things. I've become far more productive and procrastinate far less during regular working hours. The four focus days are self-explanatory, they are the days you focus on your primary tasks. The buffer day is what makes the difference: it's essentially a day where you do the things that allow the focus days to remain focus days. For example, this can be meetings or phone calls. Or even a dentist appointment. Or working from a coffee shop if you feel like you need to get out and about from the office. Anything like that goes onto the buffer day. Got a lot of emails clogging up your inbox? That's a task for buffer day.”
Making the office work for you
Interacting with colleagues and staff can really boost happiness at work. Chris Morling, CEO of financial comparison website money.co.uk maintains his team are his most valuable asset. He never sits in an office and sits in an open plan space with the team. Chris feels this flat structure is one of the secrets of his success. Eddie Milbourne, Founder and Managing Director of International Pet Food Brand Canagan says: “Creating an atmosphere where staff can enjoy their work and thrive creatively makes all the difference to working life. For me, personally, I enjoy walking around the office trying to catch people doing good and show them my appreciation. Not only is this a great excuse to get away from the monotony of deskwork, but it also helps to break down barriers between staff and the management team.”
Whether it’s cramming half an hour of yoga in the morning, or being more mindful throughout the day, there are certainly ways to boost happiness. Rashid Ajami, Founder and CEO of Campus Society says: “My resolution for 2017 is to be more mindful. The present moment is the only thing that exists, so why place yourself anywhere else?” Nick Mills, founder of Ticket Text is based in Old Street and says coffee is the way to happiness. “Always starting the day with breakfast and a coffee at home! No matter what take some time everyday to go for a walk to clear my head - be it for a coffee, to grab some lunch or just to get out the office.”