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Feeling unsatisfied at work; stressed out or stuck in a rut?

Well, if so, it’s worth taking a moment to evaluate what’s causing your dissatisfaction and maybe coming up with a few ideas on how you might improve things on the job.

After all, you likely spend a significant portion of your waking hours at work, so liking what you do is inherently preferable, but more than this, job dissatisfaction can lead to energy-sapping burnout and studies even show that people who are happier at work stay healthier than their less satisfied co-workers.1

Often the best remedy for job dissatisfaction is simply changing jobs, but when that’s not possible, practical or advised, sometimes you can reshape the current job you loathe, into a future job you’ll love (or at least like).

So with that in mind, here are 8 easy (and some not so easy) changes to consider - find any one that works for you and you might find even find yourself on a Sunday evening looking forward to getting into work for the long week ahead.

8 Ways to Increase Job Satisfaction (To Reduce Stress and Burnout)

1. Ask for a Written Description of Your Job’s Responsibilities

You can’t do it all…

Taking on too much and/or feeling like you’re never able to meet a job’s requirements take you on a fast track to stress and burnout, but are you really responsible for all that you’ve got on your plate?

Talk to your manager/supervisor or someone in HR and ask for a written description of your job’s responsibilities. With this in hand you can focus your attention on what you need to be doing and push away what’s beyond your sphere of responsibility.

You’ll perform better at your ‘actual’ job and you’ll feel less overwhelmed by extraneous tasks that aren’t yours to worry about.

2. Don’t Bring It Home with You

Studies show that people who can leave work at the office and mentally detach from the workplace once at home for the night are more satisfied and more productive workers over the long run.

Although you may think that obsessing about work after hours increases your performance, research shows that people who don’t detach from work at home become less engaged workers as time goes by.2

So leave work at work. It’ll lower your stress, increase your job satisfaction and you’ll be a better worker for it.

3. Sign Up for Additional Training

Studies of workplace satisfaction consistently show that workers who get more and better training are more satisfied on the job than those with less training.3

Job training leads to greater work competency and new ideas and approaches which can reduce boredom – and beyond all that, it just feels better to be really good at your job than to just get by each day.

Is there any skill-set at work you need to improve on? Does your workplace offer training courses or are such courses available at local colleges or universities?

Improve yourself – get better at your job – feel more satisfied at work.

4. Take a Vacation

Skip a vacation or two this year and you greatly increase your risk of job burnout4 and studies show that people who take more vacation time report higher levels of job satisfaction.5

You can only take the days you have but there’s no excuse for failing to use all that you’re given. Take a step back from work whenever you can and you’ll come back a better and more satisfied worker.

5. Add a Potted Plant and a Window View


This one’s an easy one, but according to researchers, adding a few plants and some sunshine to your working environment pays off with a surprisingly high job satisfaction dividend.

In a study of office workers in Texas and the Midwest, researchers found that 82% of workers who had plants and windows in their work environment reported feeling very happy at work, 69% of workers with plants but no windows reported feeling very happy at work and 60% of workers with no plants but windows reported feeling very happy. Among workers with no windows or plants in their work environment, only 58% reported feeling very happy at work.6

6. Be Yourself at Work

Be yourself – making an effort to hide your true nature or authentic self results in lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of perceived discrimination.7

Being authentic at work may increase job satisfaction as it is associated with better work relationships and friendships.

7. Add Variety to Your Job

Tedium, unsurprisingly, leads quickly to job dissatisfaction.

If you’re stuck in a rut at work consider ways to add variety to your daily work routine.


  • Volunteering to sit on a committee
  • Mentoring a junior colleague or asking a talented co-worker/superior to mentor you in some area
  • Transferring to a different division within the company
  • Volunteering for new responsibilities
  • Getting involved with social activities at work (company softball team etc.)

8. Add Exercise to Your Work Day

Shake up your lunch-time routine with an invigorating walk or run – or try commuting by bike instead of driving in by car.

Although there’s a lot you can’t control about your work environment, you can control your attitude - and the way you approach each day goes a long way toward influencing how much you enjoy your on-the-clock time.

Incorporate a little aerobic exercise into most days and you’ll find that the stress relieving and mood buoying effects of getting moving will do a lot to improve the attitude you bring to the job – and that’ll do a lot to improve your overall work satisfaction level.

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Page last updated Jul 05, 2012

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