What really makes people happy at work?

Noga Grinberg

8 December, 2019

We decided to find out. So we surveyed 5,000 people around the world and asked them how they feel about work — what they look forward to at the office every day, what matters most to them at their jobs, and what their employers do for them.

Why focus on happiness?

Not only does it impact all our personal lives, but it also has significant implications for business. It’s been found, for example, that happy people are more productive. Happiness can also increase creativity, and happy people tend to stay at their jobs longer than unhappy people. In short, happiness deserves to be part of any business’ agenda.

In the Mindspace Employee Happiness Survey, we set out to explore the topic, asking whether people are happy at work, what makes them happy, and which attributes of the workplace can increase employee happiness.

What did we learn?

It turns out that happiness is crucial for business, in more ways than we expected. In addition, companies can influence the happiness of their employees in several key ways.

Around the world, people are generally happy at work. Many people are very happy (30%), most people are happy most of the time (54%), some people are not very happy (13%), and a few are not at all happy (3%). Where are people the happiest at work? In the Netherlands and the U.S. Where are they the least happy? In the UK.

Is everyone the same kind of happy?

Not exactly. We found that men are happier at work than women, millennials are happier than people in their 40–50s, managers are happier than employees, and people who are self-employed are happier than those working at a company.

What makes people happy at work?

We found 7 major factors that make people happy: having a sense of purpose, feeling valued, the availability of wellness programs, feeling engaged, working in a collaborative environment, having flexibility, and being in positive workplace culture.

Are there certain steps that workplaces can take to increase happiness?

Yes, there are. We found 3 attributes of the workplace that contribute to happiness. To find out what steps a business can take and learn more, download the complete Employee Happiness Survey here.

About the author

Noga is a content producer and creative projects leader for Mindspace.

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