It’s a question that’s asked a lot: How can I be happy at work? or, How can I make my employees be happy at work? It’s asked over and over because it’s important: research shows that most people are actually less stressed out at work than they are at home.

A company’s culture is a big influence over whether or not employees are happy, as a start. Happy employees mean a happy work environment, and it draws talent to that work environment. If your company’s culture is full of employees that aren’t happy, they aren’t engaged, and performing at a lower level.

employee engagement meeting
If you’re struggling, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of bad suggestions that are counterproductive at worst and a waste of time at best. I dug into some sociological research and found that there are a few reliable strategies that have been tried and tested. So here are some tips— backed by science!

Count Your Sheep!

It’s common sense that if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be at your best. But research has found that sleep deprivation hurts no matter where you are. More sleep will help you feel better in all facets of your life, not just at work. Scientists have found that sleep deprivation greatly impairs even basic human functioning. “We found that mood is more affected by sleep deprivation than either cognitive or motor performance,” sleepy scientists June Pilcher and Allen Huffcut wrote. Surprisingly, they found that “partial sleep deprivation has a more profound effect on functioning than either long-term or short-term sleep deprivation.” So even one Sunday Funday with a little too much Fun can throw the rest of your week off.

great company culture

Try Some Downward Dogs if You’re Feeling Low.

Scandanavian Sociologists studied how lifestyle changes affect people at work, looking at different variables and how those people felt at home and outside of work. Their results surprised them, but probably not many yogis. They found, overwhelmingly, that taking breaks to do yoga made employees happier, more productive, and less likely to call out sick. There was also a correlation between employees that worked out, even if they didn’t find their asanas. Thanks to this research, working on your fitness counts as actual, productive work— so get your oms out and your sweat on!

Seek Out More Experiences!

Research sociologists Cheryl Maranto and Robert Rogers found in a study that work experience helps employees be more productive and helps them make better work. So find some new work experiences to take on and try doing things a little differently, it’ll help you get back on your grind.

Keep Your Boundaries!

The Journal of Organizational Behavior found that employees were much happier when they actually didn’t work on their personal time. employee satisfaction surveySo turn off email notifications, put the smartphone down, and do something for yourself. The sociologists who wrote the study found that non-work breaks for social or physical activity helped boost happiness and productivity. So take your coffee break, catch up with an office friend, or take a lap around the building- and definitely don’t take work home with you. You’ll feel better for it.

There are tons of ways to be happy at work, but there are four interesting ones I’ve found that have research to back them up. If there’s something that works for you, let me know in the comments.

But if you want to really improve employee morale, a great place to start is learning more about company culture, employee recognition, and how to make it awesome, with Teamphoria. Sign up for free today!

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