Nobody likes to feel stuck in a rut, especially where your job is concerned. It can start to feel like everything under the sun is wrong with it, even the things you once enjoyed. . But before you start seriously contemplating new opportunities and make a break for it, it’s important to get clear on exactly what’s bothering you in your current job or career situation, because the grass isn’t always greener and without knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, there’s always the risk you might jump out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.

A lot of research has been done in the area of job satisfaction and more specifically, what factors have an impact on our job satisfaction, and a number of factors have been identified as key contributors. So, before you start sprucing up your CV and brushing up on your interview skills, here are the top factors you need to consider, that might be effecting your job satisfaction more than you think.

1. Variety of tasks

We all know how hard it can be to stay interested and motivated when the task at hand is repetitive and just plain boring. You struggle to keep focused as your mind wonders to more exciting things.

How much variety we have at work has a major impact on how satisfied we are and the more variety your job has, the more likely you are to stick around.

Tip: If your job’s recently lost its shine, consider speaking to your boss about the possibility of taking on new projects or helping others out to mix things up.

2. Relationships with colleagues 

Given the amount of time we spend at work, our colleagues become more like extended family than simply co-workers, you probably know someone who has a work wife and the type of relationship they have.

Since we spend so much of our valuable time with colleagues, it’s no wonder that your relationship with your colleagues has a major influence when it comes to job satisfaction and the better your workplace relationships, the happier you’ll tend to be. Interestingly, studies have found that this correlation is much stronger when it comes to relationships with colleagues than relationships with your boss.

Tip: While you’d be forgiven for wanting to dash home after putting in the hours at the office, there’s definitely some benefit to spending time with colleagues outside of work. Consider making a point to go out for dinner or the occasional drink after work, while this can be hard depending on personal commitments, studies have shown that it goes a long way to improving how we feel about our jobs and our general wellbeing.

3. Working Conditions

When considering whether a job is right for us or not, one of the key considerations is always the working conditions. This includes the office environment, the facilities available, the job location, right down to the culture of the organisation.

No one wants to spend 5 days a week in a dingy, dark and uninspiring space, cut off from civilisation in an office with no windows! It’s not wonder that companies in great locations with amazing offices are attractive to us as research shows the importance of the environment.

Unsurprisingly, company culture is also important with people wanting fairness and open communication with good reputation also having a positive impact of job satisfaction levels according to research.

Tip: If your office space isn’t to die for, try and take time to step outside during the working day, even for 5 minutes. The fresh air will do wonders for your energy levels, and the time away from the desk can help clear your mind for better focus. If all else fails, see if there’s a colleague with a better desk location and recommend a move to mix things up!

4. Workload 

Being busy can be great, with time flying by, before you know it it’s the end of the day. On the other hand, being overworked, or at least feeling overworked is a different feeling altogether.

A high workload means different things to different people, but regardless of how your workload may seem to someone else, if you perceive that you have way more work than is manageable and feel under extreme pressure as a result, then you’ll be less satisfied with your job.

People are valuing balance more and more as the benefits have been highlighted, with the effects of work related stress being more widely discussed. See what BUPA has to say about work related stress.

Tip: If your workload is off the chart and your stress levels are soaring, read more about what you can do to combat stress in this post.

5. Level of Autonomy 

If you’ve ever had a micro manager, then you’ll know what it feels like to be under constant supervision and scrutiny, being given very little opportunity to make decisions or do things your way.

According to Self Determination Theory , along with competence and relatedness, situations and tasks which involve a level of autonomy not only get the best out of us in terms of performance, we also find them more engaging and are more motivated to do them.

Working in a company where you’re given the autonomy to decide how you do your job, or at least certain elements of it ( as long as you deliver) in addition to being able to make decisions has been found to have a highly positive impact when it comes to job satisfaction. After all, we all want to be trusted and seen as competent and capable.

Tip: If the only decisions you make at the office are about your mid morning beverage, it might be time to be honest with your boss. Think about some of the smaller areas where you could have more autonomy and what the benefits would be, then block out that time for a much needed meeting.

These are just the first 5 factors that have an influence over your job satisfaction. But there’s more. In the next post, find out what the remaining 5 key factors are and what they mean for you and your job satisfaction and career happiness.