11 ways to keep a positive attitude at work

February 15, 2019

Maintaining a positive attitude at work on a daily basis is harder than you may think. While it is easy to be positive in a positive environment, it’s much more difficult when surrounded by negativity.

For some people a positive attitude comes as naturally as breathing. For others, it takes a lot of time and a concentrated effort.  

A positive attitude can be the difference between career success and failure. Here are 11 ways you can cultivate a positive attitude

1. Befriend your coworkers

You spend around 40 hours a week at work. It’s nice to have some friends among your coworkers. You don’t need to know every detail about them, however talking about common interests and occasionally bantering back and forth will make work more inviting.

Having a friendly community at work can help you feel supported and may decrease your stress.

Try participating in after-work activities and events. Tag along instead of heading straight home after work. You don’t need to socialise for hours.

Hanging out for even a short period of time will make you feel more connected. You may be out with work people, but you aren’t at work. It will create a positive attitude towards your coworkers.

2. Take a break and go out for lunch

Being chained to your desk does you no good. Go for lunch, indulge in a coffee break, or just step away from your desk for a few minutes.

Even taking short intermittent breaks will reduce the chance of burnout, help maintain good mental health, and develop a more positive attitude.

3. Leave work at work

Don’t underestimate the importance of having time to yourself, family, or your hobbies. If you take work home with you every day, you will never be excited to go back to work the next day. Make a rule that you leave work at work whenever possible.

It’s hard not to think about work when you are at home as it takes up so much of our lives. But give it a try – allow yourself to disconnect. The more you put it out of your mind, the more refreshed you will feel the next day. You cannot cultivate a positive attitude if you are burnt out.

4. Act professionally

How you interact at work speaks volumes about your work ethic. It must be addressed if you have an issue at work that affects your positive attitude.

There is no right or wrong way, as long as you try to approach the matter in an open and constructive way.

You will find you gain more respect from your peers at work if you handle yourself professionally in negative situations. You may not be able to be positive 100% of the time, but you can maintain your professionalism no matter how you feel.

5. Manage your workload

If you are overwhelmed with your workload, there is little chance you will be performing optimally. This can negatively impact your productivity which will affect your attitude. See what you can do to change the situation.

If you have the opportunity to delegate, you should. Especially if it gives other employees an opportunity to grow and expand their skills.

To help you with this, try creating a not-to-do list of tasks that prevent you from greater productivity.

This will save you time, which will allow you to get back on top of your work load. You exude energy and positivity when you know you are at the top of your game.

6. Be nice to others

If you find yourself at odds with a colleague, before you talk to them, take a moment to make sure that any unconscious bias you have is not clouding your judgement of the situation.

Watch your body language and be very aware that the words you use are always subject to interpretation. There is a difference between criticism and constructive feedback.

Criticism doesn’t help improve performance or stop incorrect actions from happening again, whereas positive feedback allows you to correct behaviour and move forward.

With that being said, it’s also important to stay away from gossip. While gossip is nearly impossible to avoid, you definitely don’t want to be the one generating or spreading it.

Gossip creates suspicion and mistrust, and no one likes assuming they are being spoken about behind their back. If you find yourself continually caught in a gossip trap, you may need to take a firmer stand and say, “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

7. Control your language

No matter how therapeutic it feels to complain to coworkers and friends about your work, you’re only making it worse.

If you are trying to give yourself a positive attitude adjustment, make sure you stop being part of the ‘Complain Club’. Let the rest of the club members know that they are no longer welcome to have negative work conversations with you.

If you find that you need to vent your frustrations somewhere, do so with someone completely outside of your work circle.

8. Smile and laugh more

Seems like silly advice, but if all else fails, force yourself to smile – you’re likely to start feeling more upbeat.

Studies have shown that forcing a smile can genuinely increase your mood because your body associates those muscle movements with feelings of happiness.

Humour is another way to boost a positive attitude, even when things are going horribly wrong. Find humour where you can and laugh with your coworkers.

This is different from laughing at them. Never joke at someone else’s expense, no matter how much better it may make you feel.

9. Get a good night's sleep

Its hard to maintain a positive attitude if you’re walking into work every morning like Grumpy Bear due to a lack of sleep.

A good night’s sleep does the body good, reduces stress, and improves work performance.

No one is too old for a bedtime, so set one for yourself that works with your schedule. When that time comes around, turn off your tv, close social media apps,  mute all your devices, and go to bed!

Treat yourself to a luxurious 8hrs every night – you deserve it!

10. Create a routine

Routines often get a bad rap for being boring and mundane. Routines give our week structure instead of scrambling for time to get everything done.

A set morning routine can be especially good as it helps you start every day calmly and focused, and a routine at the end of the day allows you to be fully prepared for the next morning’s workload. 

Having routines in place can contribute to your overall organisation and positivity

11. Remind yourself it’s just a job

This can be the hardest one, but your job is just one part of your life: it shouldn’t be your everything.

While it is important to care about your career, when the ‘day-to-day’ of it starts to get overwhelming, you need to be able to look at the clock and remind yourself of everything waiting for you at home.

Whether it be your spouse, your pet, a call from a family member, a great show, or a fantastic meal.

Work-life balance may be a catchphrase, but it’s popular for a reason.

Tried everything and you can develop a positive attitude at work? Maybe it’s time for a new job.

Feeling more positive at work requires effort.

However, if nothing is working, it might be time to consider switching jobs. If you are thinking about changing jobs, our recruiters would love to assist you.

Visit our job board and search for roles that are relevant to your experience. 

This post was written by: Charlotte Bosley-Plumb, Content Marketing Coordinator