How to Be a Ray of Sunshine in a Dull Workplace

Tired of working in an office surrounding by negative or apathetic energy? Find that your motivation level is zapped the minute you enter work each day? If you are working in what’s considered to be a dull or even negative workplace there is something you can do about it. Whether you are a mid to low level employee or the boss, use humor and a positive attitude to bring a ray of sunshine to your dull workplace.


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    Find humor in your day. Sharing a laugh with a coworker or a team of employees can help you add levity to your day. Not only will a good laugh break up the monotony, laughing can have a positive physical impact on your overall well-being. Dr. William F. Fry, a psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that laughing just 20 seconds a day provides the same mental effects derived from 10 minutes of rowing-- and research has shown that exercise elevates the mood and can have a distressing effect.
    • Self-deprecating humor. People who can laugh at themselves are often the life of the party. Think--Hugh Grant or George Clooney. Both of these famous actors have ‘em rolling in the aisles even when unscripted. Learn how to laugh at yourself and you’ll make others feel comfortable, adding a little sunshine to anyone’s day.
    • Bonding humor. Bonding through humor is a great way to create office camaraderie. If you are working on a tough project with coworkers or are trying to get to know another employee, find humor in situations such as laughing about something crazy that happened at the office or laughing at some of the crazy ideas you conjured up during the last brainstorming session.
    • Observational humor. In the spirit of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, find gentle, fun ways to identify the humor in everyday occurrences at the office. For example, why is the water cooler designated as gossip central? Why can’t it be the bathroom or the janitor’s closet?
    • Teach/train with comedy. If you are your office trainer or are in the process of showing another employee how to accomplish a task, inject a few funny comments into your repertoire to lighten the mood and captivate your audience.
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    Initiate a rewards and recognition program. One of the best ways to motivate and rev up the atmosphere at work is to implement a rewards and recognition program. Check with HR to see if a program currently exists; otherwise propose a program that will involve every employee in an effort to show how the company appreciates him or her.
    • Include everyone in the office. The best way to spread office cheer is to make sure every single employee can participate. From the CEO to employees in the mail room, lightening the office atmosphere starts at the top and moves throughout the organization.
    • Celebrate both big and small accomplishments. Set small, attainable goals such as delivering internal and external customer service or being the office cheerleader. Recognize random acts of kindness such as the employee who stops what he/she is doing in order to help another or the employee who is first to give a coworker a hug when a situation goes wrong. Find metrics that allow you to increase motivation and enhance a positive workplace (such as increased customer service or even a good deed of the day).
    • Recognize someone each day. Go out of your way to point out the positives in at least one employee every day. Whether it’s bringing your coworker coffee and delivering a “way to go at the meeting today” comment or telling your boss about the outstanding job a coworker did on a project, make sure you find the good in at least one (if not more) employee every day.
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    Go out of your way to smile and greet everyone you meet at work. Smiling is infectious--a sincere smile and a warm greeting first thing in the morning can change the mood in your office instantly.
    • Make eye contact before delivering a warm smile. Call your coworker by name and deliver a heartfelt “good morning” or “good afternoon” along with a warm, welcoming smile.
    • Ask employees positive, personal questions. For example, when you greet an employee in your department, after you deliver a smile and a “good morning” ask your coworker how his/her child’s soccer game went last night, for example. Avoid touchy subjects but remember topics he/she may have talked about the previous day and raise the topic to show you care.
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    Listen to your coworkers/employees and offer positive, proactive ideas. Squash negative thoughts and ideas in the workplace with a “can do” attitude and ideas.
    • Be available to talk and have a listening ear. Sometimes coworkers want to vent or bounce ideas off of someone. Be that “go to” person who will listen and provide comfort and support.
    • Offer support to coworkers. Be a source of strength for coworkers, however in the event two coworkers are feuding never take sides. Offer helpful suggestions such as mediation or meeting with the boss to discuss a dispute. Also, offer to help or provide resources if a coworker wants to implement a positive idea that will help corporate growth or change.


  • Celebrate random holidays such as “National Pancake Day” or “Pet Day.” Decorate your break room and offer to bring in cupcakes to pass out during break time.
  • Include other employees in your mood lightening initiative. Most likely there are several employees in your office that want to bring positive vibes to a dull workplace.


  • Avoid being overly silly or goofy at work in an effort to develop levity. This could only result in disciplinary action by your boss.

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Categories: Job Strategies