6 successful women share what makes them happy at work – and it’s not what you'd think

headshots of four women at work
Successful women share what makes them happy at work

If you were compiling a wish list for your perfect job, what would appear on it? Perhaps flexible hours, a friendly team and generous annual leave?

What we demand from our jobs differs from person to person, but the most important thing is that we're happy at work – we do spend a huge portion of our lives there, after all.

Why is happiness at work important?

Happy businesswomen using digital tablet in office
Happiness at work is important for our wellbeing (Getty)

"We spend most of our week at the office, or home office, which is why feeling happy and fulfilled at work can have a big impact on our overall wellbeing," confirms Anna Persaud Managing Director of This Works. "Long-term happiness at work contributes to feelings of fulfillment and studies show it improves productivity and creativity."

Christina Salcedas Global Director of Wellbeing at wellness brand Aromatherapy Associates agrees, adding: "The average Brit spends 252 days a year at work, which is a huge chunk of our time.

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"To make this a positive contributor to your wellbeing, it is essential you are happy at work. Realistically, there will be tough days but generally the essence is that you feel you have a sense of purpose, that you are appreciated, that your values align with the company’s and that you have goals that are achievable."

Gizele Lodi, Chief Marketing Officer of digital coaching platform Ezra, adds that a happy workplace makes us more comfortable, explaining: "A workplace culture that is built on positivity and happiness allows us to feel comfortable speaking more openly and transparently, feel more engaged and appreciated, and helps to promote personal growth as well.

READ: How to practice gratitude for a happier life: an expert's guide

"It can also boost job satisfaction - because when employees enjoy their work, it ultimately influences their overall happiness and wellbeing," she continues.

We spoke to some of the most successful women we know to discover what makes them happy at work – and we were surprised by the answers, with nobody namechecking salary among what makes them happy!

What makes successful women happy at work?

Anna Persaud, Managing Director of This Works

headshot of smiling brunette woman
Anna Persaud of This Work

"Being able to be my authentic self and being accepted for who I am for both my strengths and weaknesses makes me happiest at work.

"The opportunity to positively impact other people's lives, through encouragement and mentoring to achieve their goals and ambitions is another thing that gives me a very strong sense of satisfaction and happiness at work."

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Christina Salcedas, Global Director of Wellbeing at Aromatherapy Associates

brunette woman headshot
Christina Salcedas of Aromatherapy Associates

"A great team is definitely what makes me happier! If you are with the same people day in day out and you are all working for the one end goal then you need to be able to celebrate success together, laugh together and be able to support each other through those tougher days… nothing can match that.

"Don’t get me wrong, the team will probably say that nothing makes me happier than when we’ve had a clear out at the office and the Atomiser is on… but truly, it is them!"

READ: What are limiting beliefs and why are they stopping you from feeling happy?

Heidi Coppi, Chief People Officer at Sweaty Betty

smiling woman at sweaty betty hq
Heidi Coppin of Sweaty Betty

"My personal non-negotiables are being surrounded by great people with similar values. When you are lucky enough to have this, everything else like flexible working and taking time for my own wellbeing becomes more achievable as I feel trusted and empowered by those around me."

Lynn Mason, Head of Sales at Mavala

Blonde woman smiling at camera
Lynn Mason of Mavala

"We spend so much of our time at work, so having a job you love gives you a feeling of wellbeing and makes life so much easier all around.

"I really find that achieving at work gives me a feel-good feeling that carries well on past the working day.

"Also, I know it sounds corny but having a good team around me is what makes me happiest at work. At Mavala we are like a family. Everyone looks out for each other and cares about the brand as much as the senior management team. That’s why people tend to stay there, I am in my 14th year now!!

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 Penny Hamilton, Head of Brand at Westlab

headshot of a smiling woman
Penny Hamilton of Westlad

"Purpose is most definitely what makes me happiest at work. Helping the Westlab community to boost their health and wellbeing is what gets me up in the morning. There’s no better feeling than when someone thanks you for supporting their wellbeing."

Nicola Elliott, Founder of Neom.

Blonde woman smiling in blue
Nicola Elliot of Neom (Instagram)

"Ultimately happiness at work brings a greater sense of connection which has ripples across our whole lives, so it's super important.

"A good team is vital for happiness at work. At Neom we have the best team and I’m so grateful every day that I walk into the office to be surrounded by such incredible people bringing the brand to the world."

Learn how to be happier with our HELLO! Happiness Hub