6 top tips for workplace happiness as survey shows what makes employees the most unhappy

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  • New research shows that verbal abuse, discrimination and shouting significantly lower job satisfaction
  • A CIPD study found that one in four employees has experienced workplace conflict in the past year
  • The CIPD urges employers to address the causes of conflict, such as poor management practices and excessive workloads
  • You can enhance your job satisfaction by seeking support networks, focusing on personal growth, setting boundaries, and practising self-care

Job satisfaction is a crucial component of overall well-being, productivity, and career longevity.

But now, new research suggests that workers who face workplace humiliation, verbal abuse or discrimination tend to have lower job satisfaction and are more likely to experience adverse mental and physical health outcomes.

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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) conducted a study revealing that one in four employees has encountered workplace conflict within the past year.

Common issues include being undermined, shouted at, engaging in heated arguments, experiencing verbal abuse, or encountering discriminatory behaviour.

(Photo: Pexels)(Photo: Pexels)
(Photo: Pexels) | Pexels

The CIPD urged employers to address the underlying causes of conflict, such as poor management practices and excessive workloads.

The survey of 5,000 people found that only half of those who reported conflict were satisfied with their job. Those who experienced conflict had less confidence in senior leaders’ ability, and less trust in them to act with integrity.

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So how can you improve your workplace happiness in the face of such issues? While addressing systemic issues in the workplace is essential, there are proactive steps individuals can take to improve their job satisfaction despite challenging circumstances.

What is job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is the level of contentment employees feel about their work, which can affect their performance and overall life satisfaction.

Factors contributing to job satisfaction include the nature of the work itself, compensation, work-life balance, workplace relationships, and growth opportunities.

Of course, news of a study highlighting the detrimental impact of verbal abuse, discrimination, and shouting from bosses on employees' job satisfaction shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

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Such negative behaviours create a hostile work environment, leading to increased stress, anxiety and a sense of helplessness.

How to improve your job satisfaction

Seek support and build a network

Cultivate a supportive network within and outside the workplace with colleagues, mentors and friends who can provide emotional support, advice and encouragement.

Engaging with a professional network also has the added bonus of potentially opening up opportunities for career growth, and can provide a sense of belonging.

Build positive relationships with colleagues who uplift and support you; a friendly and cooperative work environment can significantly enhance job satisfaction - for both you and those around you - even if other aspects of the job are challenging.

Enhance communication skills

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Effective communication can mitigate misunderstandings and conflicts, and assertive communication allows you to express your needs and concerns without aggression.

Developing these skills can help in addressing issues directly and constructively, potentially reducing the frequency and impact of negative interactions with superiors.

However, be wary of allowing all of the responsibility in this area to fall on your own shoulders.

Jake Young, of the CIPD, says: “Line management training should be a priority for employers, so managers can foster more positive relationships in their teams and address any conflict early on, before it has a chance to escalate.

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“It’s also important to pinpoint and address the underlying causes of conflict, including excessive workloads, exhaustion and pressure.”

Focus on personal growth

Invest in your personal and professional development by learning new skills, attending workshops and pursuing further education, all of which can increase your competence and confidence.

This will not only make you more valuable to your current employer, but can also open up new career opportunities, reducing the feeling of being stuck in a toxic environment.

Set boundaries

Just as you might in any other area of your life, don’t be afraid to establish clear boundaries to protect your well-being.

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This could include setting limits on your working hours and learning to say no to unreasonable demands - protecting your personal time is crucial for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Document incidents

If you are facing verbal abuse or discrimination, document every incident in detail - this documentation can be crucial if you need to report the behaviour to human resources or seek legal advice.

Keeping a record can also provide a sense of control and validation, knowing you have evidence of your experiences.

Practice self-care

Try to engage in activities that promote physical and mental health, like engaging in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting sufficient sleep, and mindfulness practices like meditation.

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These can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being in your day-to-day life, which in turn can make it easier to cope with workplace challenges.

If the stress and dissatisfaction become overwhelming, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapy or counselling can provide coping strategies and support in dealing with workplace toxicity.

Have you ever experienced workplace abuse, discrimination or shouting, and how did you overcome it? Let us know in the comments section.

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