Happiness is everything to people. Walk down the street and ask people at random what they want in life and most will say, “I want to be happy.” It’s natural. This carries over into that space, probably no bigger than 6′ x 6′ — their desk area at work.
Now I’m no psychotherapist, sociologist, paid employee satisfaction research coordinator or anything of the sort; I’m not qualified to say what I’m about to say; hell, I’m not qualified for a ton. However, I’ve discovered some things in my life — my work life — that I think people will find relevant. I’ve discovered a list of things that make me happy … at work.
I was going to bulk all of this up into one post, but we both have time, don’t we? So I’m going to start a series of posts titled “Simple Tips To Enjoy Your Job.” The tips are going to be SIMPLE, but not necessarily easy. They are going to be, “duh!” ideas that might annoy you. They’re going to be simple ideas that are totally unoriginal and things that some people do naturally without giving it any real thought.
The First Tip: Get Comfortable
There are all sorts of statistics that say you spend most of your life working. Working and sleeping. How discouraging is that? Well, if you’re going to spend most of your life hunched over your desk and computer you might as well be comfortable while you’re there.
I graduated in May 09 and have been in the “working world” for a year and a half now. I’ve interned at a semi-large (100ish personish) agency as a core team member of the Healthcare practice; I’ve worked as a copywriter at a gargantuan company (FindLaw) with no one knowing who I am or what I did, and now I’m back in an agency setting that creates online interactive content for Motorola. I’ve learned a lot and there is plenty more to learn.
However, in my brief time as a workin’ man, I’ve learned that I can’t work unless I’m comfortable. Sitting for extended periods of time is proven to be one of the WORST things for a person’s health. We sit to work. We sit to eat. We sit to watch TV. We sit to watch movies. We sit to write. We sit to drive. We sit! While at FindLaw, I got an appointment with the company’s ergonomics specialist to set me up at my desk. Everything she said made sense and was a “Duh! I shoulda thought of that!” idea. Raising my chair, adjust my arm rests, raising my monitor, adjusting my lumbar support, etc.
I was comfortable after she left. Although I didn’t work there for too much longer, I was comfortable. Now, I’ve set myself up at my current desk to be comfortable. Plus, when I want to slouch, I have an upside-down trashcan as a footrest (I’m too cheap to buy a real footrest). Both my laptop and monitor are (nearly) at eye level and the lighting is right.
The moment my comfort level is set my productivity skyrockets. I don’t want to come off as some D.B., which I know I will, but I work faster than anyone on my team. What takes my colleagues 2 hours to do, I do it in 45 minutes, better. I know I do because they’re constantly praising me for turning my projects around so quickly. I know I do it better because the clients like the wording more and make fewer copy changes. I don’t attribute it all to comfort, but it helps.
So there it is: get comfy. Wear shoes that don’t hurt your feet. Or, take your shoes off at your desk. I do that a lot! Have a glass of water next to you so you are not dying of thirst. A little extra comfort goes a long way. Get a footrest. Raise your monitor so it is eye level! Your next is going to KILL YOU if you’re hunching over to read your screen. You will die. Make sure the lighting isn’t too drastic or too soft. You computer screen can be one of the quickest ways to a crippling headache. Do anything to get you comfy. If you’re cold, buy a Snuggie.
Then, when you inevitably do get uncomfortable, get up! We’ll cover that next, I think. The getting up part. Stay tuned.