One Small Thing That Will Bring You More Joy At Work

Aha! teammates sharing a laugh | Photo by Aha!

November 22, 2021

One Small Thing That Will Bring You More Joy At Work

by Brian de Haaff

“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran wrote this about friendship in his famous work The Prophet. In this passage, he describes how the sweetness of small things, like laughter, has an invigorating effect. I find this rings true in many parts of life — and especially at work.

Small joys are restorative — they can also strengthen how connected you feel to your work and team.

Everyone deserves to be happy at work. This is true simply because our jobs require so many waking hours. Why spend them feeling lousy? But it is also important because people who report feeling joyful have a higher sense of engagement, harmony, and impact. You are more committed to what you are doing when you experience personal satisfaction.

This makes good sense. But I also realize it may sound naive — even impossible — when the reality is that well-being at work continues to be lacking for many. You will not magically love what you do just by looking on the bright side of small moments. And the truth is that many people are venturing on a personal search — looking for a role that is better suited to their long-term goals and a company that lives its values.

If you are one of those people, joy at work may seem distant. And I do not want to suggest that you deny your reality. But I believe it is worthwhile to seek and express gratitude for what is going right — even when it is something small. You might be surprised by the perspective you gain when you look outward.

I was curious to hear what brightens work for the Aha! team — so I asked them to share their own small joys. Some of these are quick and simple, while others take a bit more intention. Here is what they had to say:

Collect keepsakes

"Whenever I get positive feedback or a shoutout from a team member, I take a quick screenshot of the message and save it in a folder on my computer. Then, on days when I am not feeling as motivated, I flip through my collection of affirmations and instantly feel better. It is a 60-second morale boost!" — Claire Juozitis, Marketing

A handy folder of positive affirmations | Photo by Aha!

Communicate creatively

"Emojis are modern shorthand. Since we are fully remote, I love to show team spirit by celebrating individual, team, and company victories with fun emojis. It is a quick way to let others know I am engaged with what they are working on and excited about it." — Jamey Iaccino, People Success

Celebrating an Aha! birthday with no less than 15 different emojis and gifs | Photo by Aha!

"I like to think I have a knack for creating custom emojis in Slack that resonate with the team. It is a unique way to connect over a shared achievement, memory, or joke." — Todd Meyer, Customer Success

A sampling of Todd's additions to the Aha! custom emoji library | Photo by Aha!

Get enthused in groups

"We have breakout channels in Slack to chat about things like cooking, gaming, and travel. In my favorite channel, the only topic discussed is pop culture. It is fun to take a mental break and gab without judgment. A modern water cooler chat." — Ashley Borg, Marketing

Notice moments in tune

"I like to notice when different parts of my life are in harmony. Recently, I was listening to the company performance update and I looked over to see my partner and my dog playing together in another room. I felt connected to my remote teammates and close to my family at the same time. I thought, 'This rules.' It was just a single moment — but I felt a lot of joy." — Reilly O'Connor, Customer Success

Play with puns

"I love our penchant for puns at Aha! — especially between the marketing and product teams. We have had some long running jokes involving Gantt charts. And one time someone typed 'produce team' instead of 'product team' and you can imagine how we ran with that. We just Gantt help ourselves!" — Rose Smith, Marketing

Put it on paper

"At the start of every work day, I like to write my to-do list on paper. I love having solid goals to achieve — and it brings me joy and satisfaction at the end of the day when I see all of my to-dos scratched off with bright orange ink." — Ashley Thompson, People Success

Ashley's colorful and complete to-do list | Photo by Aha!

Snack and learn

"On the marketing team, we take turns hosting 'Snack and Learn' presentations. I had the opportunity to teach everyone about video editing and explain the 'why' behind what I do. I enjoy sharing knowledge with others — helping them understand and empathize with my particular craft and learning about their work, too. When this happens team-wide, it makes everyone better and teamwork more joyful." — Mike Alvarez, Marketing

Show your work

"The engineering team usually demos new Aha! functionality at our weekly all-hands meetings. Recently, I gave a demo of a feature that made it possible for our team to understand customer usage across our products at a glance. Folks were excited about it ahead of the demo — and afterwards, people were gushing over how much they liked the update. Seeing this enthusiasm after showing something I worked hard on was a super gratifying moment." — Chris Zempel, Engineering

Take time to savor small joys — get into the habit of collecting more moments that give you meaning.

Whether you find satisfaction in a personal ritual or a shared team joke, it does not really matter — significance is personal. What is important is that it is something you value and store away in your memory.

Happiness is infectious. When you feel greater joy and connection at work, so will those around you. And there is nothing small about that.

What are the small things that brighten your work day?

Work anywhere and be happy. Aha! is hiring right now.

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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