4 Ways to Create a Habitat for Happiness at Work
You’ve probably seen pictures—or at least heard rumors—of the Google “campus,” the workplace nestled in Mountain View, California that offers perks to its employees such as massage rooms, yoga sessions and all-you-can-eat sushi.
For those of us who have worked in more traditional offices, this may sound skeptical to productivity, but Google’s primary goal is “to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” Beyond the initial wow-effect of places like Google, creating a habitat for happiness is the key to sustaining employee engagement for the long run. Creating that habitat takes internal focus and participation from every individual to come to fruition.
There are several ways that every working woman can create this positive company culture, no matter what title you hold. Here are four ways to help you create a habitat for happiness at your workplace:

4 Ways to Create a Habitat for Happiness at Work

1. Strategically Unplug

The constant barrage of communication we receive on a daily basis can be exhausting. From our phones to our emails, texts, and instant messages, it can be difficult to find time to focus on one single task.
It might not be realistic to completely unplug in today’s working world, but stepping away from technology, even briefly, can increase your focus. Eliminating the distraction of technology leads to a 57 percent increase in more effective collaboration, an 88 percent increase in learning effectiveness and a 42 percent increase in socializing effectiveness.
If you have the flexibility to do so, consider setting up a short-term auto-responder explaining what you are doing and when you will be back (i.e., I’m stepping away from my email to finish this project. I’ll be back in one hour). Finding ways to strategically unplug will make you more attentive, which is beneficial to everyone.

2. Infuse Your Workspace With Meaning

Many people see work as a place they must drag themselves to, counting down the hours when they can return home to their “real lives.” In order to feel happier, your workspace should be a place you make your own. I mean, you do inhabit it for at least 35 hours a week, if not more!
Whether you have a cubicle, a shared space or an office with walls, take the time to find little ways to connect your home life with your work life. This could be with photos or art on the walls, books or journals from home, or even a plant to lower stress and breathe easier all day long.
[RELATED: How To Create An Office Space Your Employees Love To Work Out]

3. Breathe Life Into Your Workspace

One of the best and most productive ways to start your day is to meditate. Finding a quiet place to meditate at your workplace first thing in the morning will help shape how you feel in that environment. Meditating early in the morning helps boost happiness and decrease stress levels throughout the rest of the day.
You could also consider meditating during lunch time. Find a few minutes to carve out time for silence and concentrated breathing.

4. Create a Culture of Connection

There are lots of working women who eat lunch by themselves during the day. In many cases, people eat lunch on the run so that they can get home quicker, but did you know that social support is just as predictive of how long you will live as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking? It’s true!
Look around your office and think about the social script your company is writing. Is it one that feels accepting? Do you know the names of your cubicle neighbors? Does your office provide activities to participate in as a group?
Consider starting a regularly recurring post-work happy hour. Invite a co-worker to lunch, learn the names of all the employees in your vicinity. and make a practice of saying hello to others in the building. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manager, the head of your department, or someone on an individual team. Anyone can implement a culture of connection at their workplace—you just have to take the initiative to start.
It is up to every one of us as working women to create a company culture. Whether you are a manager or a front-line employee, each of us has a choice to shape the environment in which we work through our mindset and our actions. By following the strategies outlined above, we can take small steps to creating healthy, happy work habitats.

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