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International Happiness at Work Week: 10 key factors that should be prioritised


Happiness at work has a significant impact on life outside of work, and employees are generally happier when they feel valued in the business.

A recent report by UCL revealed that a quarter of teachers report a 60-hour working week, and for a survey by Perkbox, 45% of employees said their place of work does not have anything in place to help reduce stress levels and improve their mental health.

For this year’s International Week of Happiness at Work (23rd – 27th September), Instant Offices has delved into the importance of boosting employee satisfaction and happiness in the workplace.

The top five reasons why employees look to hand in their notices:

  1. Low salary (35%)
  2. Job tenure (23%)
  3. Monotonous or boring work (22%)
  4. Job location or length of commute (20%)
  5. Disapproval of their boss or line manager (18%)

Aside from the reasons above, factors such as work-life balance and commuting all have a significant effect on employee satisfaction and happiness.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

It has been reported that while Brits spend more time at work, the UK has one of the lowest productivity levels.

In fact, studies reveal that only 45% of Brits feel they have a good work-life balance.

Long Commutes

Recent research from the Office of National Statistics reveals that women are more likely to leave their job because of a long commute. 

In London, the average worker takes 92 minutes to commute to their job, while Nice in France was ranked the best city for commuting.

A report by the Royal Society for Public Health shows the following:

  • More than half of commuters say travel increases stress levels
  • Two in five commuters say it decreases the amount of time they are physically active
  • Over one-third of commuters sleepless

The Fabric of a Happy Workplace

While mental health, wellbeing and creating a better work-life continues to be at the forefront of both employees and employers’ minds when it comes to seeking jobs and employee retention, here are 10 key factors that businesses can prioritise:

  1. Employee recognition: According to the 2018 Employee Retention Report, in the US, 1 in 5 workers don’t feel recognized when they do great work have interviewed for a job in the last three months.
  2. Good Work-Life Balance: Improved mental health, physical wellbeing, creativity and job satisfaction are just a few of the benefits that come from a healthy work-life balance.
  3. Flexible working options: Whether it’s adopting the four-day work week, as many European countries have already, or allowing work from home days, flexible working options remains high on the priority list for employees.
  4. Diversity and inclusion: According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 74% of people in the Millennial age group believe their workplace is more innovative when the culture is more inclusive, and around half of Millennial job seekers are prioritising a culture of diversity and inclusion when choosing prospective employers.
  5. Focus on Mental Health: A study from Business in the Community shows, only 53% of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work. While the CIPD found that less than a quarter of British workers feel their organisation doesn’t take employee wellbeing seriously.
  6. The power of choice: According to Gensler’s 2016 UK Workplace Survey, 70% of Employees want a say in when and where they work, with the need for relaxed gathering spaces being high on the list.
  7. Design: The survey reports that poorly designed open-plan environments are negatively affecting more than eight million UK workers.
  8. Noise management: An open office has more aesthetic appeal than segregated cubicles and encourages collaboration in the creative space, but noise is one of the pitfalls.
  9. Access to people and resources: Utilising technology in your office with suitable devices and machinery will also enhance productivity and allows employees to boost their own job performance, leaving them more fulfilled, motivated and inventive – exactly what your company needs to improve productivity and satisfaction.
  10. Empower the whole community: Choice, purpose, and equity should be a focus, so match space to the role, not status – strategies that match space to role rather than seniority provide an opportunity to engage and improve at all levels of the company. Matching the space to job needs and not roles is key here. Grouping employees to their functions and teams, rather than hierarchy, results in productivity and higher satisfaction. 

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