Happiness at Work Report
The UK and happiness in the workplace – are we really happy at work?
Updated: Friday 4th October 2019
In September, here at John Cabot we decided to conduct a survey in order to gather some hard facts about happiness levels at work across the UK. As corporate events and team building specialists, we are all too aware that happy workplaces bring huge benefits, not just for humans but for organisations too, so we know this would be a very important project for us.
At first glance, the results revealed that overall people seem happy at work with almost two thirds of British employees answering that they feel happy in their current job role.
Are you happy when you are at work?
These results show that 17% of Brits are miserable in their current job role. It doesn’t end there; when digging into the data we found factors that can fuel or dampen levels of happiness across workplaces. The results also reinforced our belief that we can make changes to improve employee happiness, build more effective teams and develop great cultures.
Why happiness at work matters?
Whether or not employees are happy at work has fundamental consequences for every organisation, however big or small. Study after study shows that happier employees are more engaged and motivated, more creative, they take ownership, provide better customer service, play more effective roles in teams and make better leaders. Happiness in the workplace also improves the quality of work as well as reduces absenteeism and employee turnover.
1,996 participants were surveyed from across the UK. All participants were employed at the time, from hugely diverse industries and represented different age groups and hailed from various regions.
Happiest to saddest places across the country
The north of England is where the happiest workplaces in the UK are based with the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions scoring the highest. Results also show that the East of England and London are the most miserable places to work.
Feeling stressed out?
Regions with the highest stress levels at work:
#1 West Midlands
#2 East Midlands
#3 South West
What do the happiest of us have in common?
Surprisingly, factors such as whether employees feel they are paid appropriately, low stress levels or that the amount of work is achievable within the working day don’t appear to impact whether someone is happy or not. In fact, only 54% of ‘happy workers’ feel they get paid adequately for their job role and its associated responsibilities.
Who is happy?
The happiest are people with a 15-30 minute commute, a pleasant working environment, who have been in a job for less than a year, who are constantly learning and feel supported by their manager.
Free to be myself
The majority of the happiest people at work answered that they feel free to be themselves at work vs the most miserable who don’t feel like they can be themselves.
People working in healthcare, marketing, advertising and public relations scored the highest levels of happiness.
What do the most miserable at work have in common?
Surprisingly, factors such as whether employees feel frustrated, have high stress levels or are bored don’t contribute to being miserable at work as much as other factors.
Who is unhappy?
The more miserable people are with a commute that is less than 15 minutes, those working in hospitality, events management or retail and who have been in a job for 10-20 years. Despite salary not being a factor for the happiest, 75% of unhappy employees feel they don’t believe they get paid appropriately.
Not supported at work
Almost all unhappy employees revealed that they don’t feel supported in the workplace and 92% feel that they can’t be themselves at work.
Afraid to speak up
Unhappy employees are the least likely to speak up and challenge the way things are done in the workplace. The results also show that men are more confident at this than women, with 67% feeling confident enough to challenge, compared to just 47% of women.
So, what can we do? As leaders of organisations, we need to pay more attention to boosting happiness levels and constantly strive to improve them. Individually, we need to take control of our own happiness and understand how our behaviour and attitude impacts the people around us. Here at John Cabot, we are a relativity young company so along with a pleasant work environment and fair pay, we believe that empowering people with information about the business, encouraging collaboration, providing personal development, support and ensuring that everyone is heard are solid first steps to a happy workplace so that everybody is engaged, creative and stay with us longer.