Staff meeting

Nobody wants to get stuck in a job they hate, but it happens more often than you might think. Did you know that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged with the work they’re doing

That means roughly 85% of people aren’t happy with their jobs. And much of that comes down to things like bad management, lack of fulfilment and a poor work-life balance. 

So when you’re looking to land that first full-time gig out of uni, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right environment? One that not only motivates you but keeps you engaged and excited?


First, you need to learn to spot the fakers

Too many companies these days have a cut-throat, high-pressure approach to success. They expect you to work long hours, sacrificing your personal life and your health for the sake of turning a profit and meeting deadlines.

Just think about the toll that takes not only on your mental wellbeing but on your life.

Sure, you can say you work for a big-name brand in an office with ping pong tables and free beer Fridays. But a positive environment is about more than just gimmicks and empty perks.

You need a job that inspires and supports you. And often, flashy offices are designed to distract from the fact that the company isn’t doing that.

So when you’re looking for that first job after your studies, you need to know how to spot the fakers—the companies that say one thing then do another.

Before you agree to work somewhere, you need to ask yourself:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • How do employees rate working at this company?
  • Do they provide flexible working options?
  • How does the work align with my values and interests?
  • Is there a clear path for career growth?

A lot of this information can be found by doing a bit of digging on the company’s social media platforms, their website and their reviews on Glassdoor

You can also ask these sorts of questions during the interview stage—recruiters love to see that you’re invested in their company culture and it helps them determine if you’re a good fit.


The benefits of a positive work environment

So now that you know how to spot a negative environment, let’s explore how a positive work environment can help your career in the long-term.


1. You’re more productive when you’re proud of the work you do

According to a study conducted by the University of Warwick, happiness at work has a direct correlation with productivity. Workers who were happy experienced a 12% increase in their productivity, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive.

Now add a sense of fulfilment to that mix and just think about how much you can achieve. Maybe you’re passionate about the environment. Working for an environmental charity or a social enterprise allows you to put your skills to good use helping fight climate change. Imagine how motivated you’ll be when the work you’re doing is literally saving the world.

The good news is that corporate responsibility is on the rise, with more than 90% of the world’s top 250 companies producing annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. And nearly two-thirds of companies in Great Britain are currently investing in CSR programmes, showing their commitment to ethical behaviour.

In other words, there are plenty of companies out there invested in doing good. It’s just about finding the one that means something to you.


2. A positive environment means better health

The workplace isn’t what it used to be. With flexible and remote working on the rise, there’s more room to fit your work into your life, not the other way around. That means less tireless hours spent at your desk and more freedom to work when and where is convenient to you.

It’s even a legal requirement in the UK for employers to consider flexible working when it’s requested by an employee. According to a Deloitte and Timewise study, 73% of the UK workforce currently work either part-time or full-time with a flexible working pattern. 

In other words, your job doesn’t have to consume your life. You can achieve that elusive work-life balance and avoid the high-stress levels that come with a 24/7 work habit.

And in turn, you’re likely to experience lower sickness levels and less likelihood of high blood pressure and stress-induced weight gain.


3. Your brain works better when you’re feeling positive

Did you know that happiness has a direct influence on your brain? Specifically, the neuroplasticity, or your brain’s ability to grow and improve.

Just think about how creative and inspired you feel when you’re in a good mood. Now put that into a wider context—if your job is more likely to make you happy then you’re fuelling your brain with all the positive charge it needs to thrive.

Being happy at work also

  • Improves your ability to analyse and think
  • Affects your view of your surrounds in and outside the office
  • Increases your attentiveness
  • Influences happier thoughts


So start considering the wider picture

Remember, a job is more than just a company name and a paycheque. It’s important to know how a company’s environment will impact you—everything from the people you work with to how that job fits in with the rest of your life.

You don’t want to part of that 85% that’s stuck in a job they don’t love. So do your research and spend a bit of time finding the right fit. Trust us, it’s worth it.


This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specialised job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.

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