What Makes People Happy at Work?

I have read many articles, blogs etc. on the “keys to happiness at work”.  My most recent was written by Laurie Tarkan a health reporter for the New York Times. The article takes one of the top stressful jobs (Social Work) and surveyed 700 people. They took the top 13 happiest people who scored highest in the 9 areas of happiness and came up with the following key common factors:

  1. Flexible work schedules
  2. Sense of engagement in their work
  3. A feeling of being appreciated and valued
  4. Having a high degree of freedom
  5. A pleasant physical workspace and good relationships with clients and colleagues.
  6. Having a diversity of responsibilities
  7. Having a mentor to talk about their life

I found nothing to be a surprised in the above list. My only thoughts are that not all jobs can offer such flexibility and options within the organization. In addition, there will always be people who are not happy in the workplace and will remain “The Downers” in the office. Misery will always love company; but why not be the optimist in the office? We have more control then we think over our situations at work. You can only control your own behavior, not others.

What makes you happy at work?