For most of us, the reality is, we have to work for a significant part of our lives to achieve what we want and to live comfortably (or, as comfortably as we can afford to).  Ideally, work is something which is, on the whole, enjoyable, fulfilling and provides a sense of purpose and meaning.  In other words, our work gives us a sense of satisfaction.  
There are two categories of job satisfaction: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic job satisfaction is all about the actual work being done, your tasks, what fills each working day.  Extrinsic job satisfaction refers to the environment around you; working conditions, pay, colleagues, employee benefits and so on.  What actually causes us to feel satisfied in our work will vary depending on our job, motivations, personality, compensation and so on. 
'Why does job satisfaction matter?' 
If you are satisfied in your work, the chances are that you are invested in what you are doing; you perform better, are motivated, and far more likely to stay employed at your current workplace.  The higher the levels of staff satisfaction, the higher the chances of success are for both employees and organisations.  Similarly, those who are unhappy at work are at higher risk of depression, stress, burnout and poorer physical health.  It benefits individuals and organisations alike to encourage a positive culture with high levels of job satisfaction. 
What impacts job satisfaction? 
What makes a job satisfying will vary from person to person, but there are some common factors which contribute:  
Engagement - People who are engaged are more motivated, present, productive and focussed.  They understand their role within an organisation and feel their skills are valued, relevant and have impact.  
Compensation - More than money (though a fair wage does make a difference!) benefits such as gym membership, flexible working, free snacks/lunches, health screening, cycle to work schemes all contribute towards a feeling of being valued. 
Appreciation - We all love recognition.  Acknowledgement from a colleague for your input during a project, for example, can help you to feel appreciated and more content in your role. 
Opportunities - Knowing that you can progress your career within your current workplace, feel appreciated, encouraged to grow and have that recognised with promotion is fantastic for job satisfaction. 
Security – Feeling that your job is stable is important. Worrying about the stability of your position can lead to a lack of focus and loyalty, as well as causing stress.  
Management - Open communication management styles encourage good relationships between co-workers and leaders which in turn improves job satisfaction. 
Culture - An inclusive, diverse and open working environment fosters a feeling of safety where growth, progression and recognition feel possible.  
How could you I prove your job satisfaction? 
If you’re feeling dissatisfied at work, there are ways to increase your job satisfaction yourself, without having to necessarily change jobs;  
Tune in to your role - sometimes we lose focus. Spend some time reflecting on your position. What does your job mean? What have you achieved?  
Help other people & seek out the positive - just like volunteering, giving our time builds relationships and strengthens bonds, giving our work more meaning.  Try to surround yourself with colleagues you admire and who inspire you.  If you notice office morale could do with a boost, perhaps suggest ways you think this could be improved.  When things are tough, focus on the parts of your work you enjoy. 
Switch it up - are there any changes you can make at work? New challenges? Training courses? Taking on something new (with the right support) expands your horizons and increases self-belief.  Don’t forget to set yourself some SMART goals, too.   
Balance - job satisfaction isn’t just about what goes on in work, but outside too.  It’s important to avoid burnout, so ensure you make time for your hobbies, interests, downtime, friends and family.  
As we spend so much time working, improving the sense of satisfaction we gain from this time really is beneficial to us and our overall sense of wellbeing. 
For more great advice and tips on improving our workplace wellbeing, check out our ‘How to be happy at work’ podcast