Being happy at work may seem counterintuitive for some people, but it is possible. While business tasks can be tedious and difficult, when a culture of positivity exudes, even the most challenging projects are more bearable, even rewarding.
For example, you may find yourself in an environment lacking lightheartedness and levity. If you are a bubbly, outgoing personality with extrovert tendencies, you may seek a more demonstrative manager or teammates with whom you can feed off one another's energy.
A culture where the overall tone, from the CEO to the front line staff is consistently serious may come across to you as humorless and deflating. You may not be happy in this environment over the long haul because being more open and sociable is fuel that motivates you to perform.
How To Initiate the Beginning of a Culture Shift
- Request a meeting with your boss with a multifaceted goal to discuss future objectives, while also airing your concern. Propose a solution, related to the energy drain the culture has on your spirits, your teammates' attitudes and overall office productivity.
- A possible initial solution to gain culture shift traction may include asking your boss (or your boss's boss; or even the company owner, if it's a small organization) to employ regularly scheduled 'walkabouts' where he/she simply connects with the staff, on a more personal level.
- The walkabout agenda is simple: walk around the office every Friday and strike up conversations about everyone's plans for the weekend, or simply ask, "How are you doing?" Ask about their family, their extracurricular activities, their new child, grandchild or dog, whatever might light them up.
- Perhaps even a bit of joke telling humor can be incorporated into the mix. If the boss's personality doesn't lend itself to such comedic behavior, he or she can defer to the extrovert in the group to spin tales of humor and add levity. Just be sure to bring a smile and a chuckle to the party. The point is to connect on a lighter level and warm things up, as work that is "all work" can often feel stifling and demotivating.
While it is ideal to research a company's culture prior to accepting a new job (you can do this through Glassdoor's company reviews as well as through various social media channels), the fact remains some cultures decline over time or do not live up to expectations. If this is the case, take the reins and see what you can do to steer your company's culture back on a positive course!