Being happy is when your life fulfils your needs. On average, in the UK we spend over 1,600 hours a year working, so it only makes sense that one of our needs should be to work in a job we’re happy in. But what exactly makes us happiest at work? We went on a mission to find out and asked you guys via a month-long series of surveys, Twitter polls and blogs. The results may surprise you…
We asked our Twitter audience which of the following statements they could relate to as making them the happiest at work – is it the people they work with, the salary they receive, any job progression opportunities open to them or the actual work and tasks they are undertaking?
Nearly half of all respondents (42.85% of votes) stated that the colleagues they worked alongside made them the happiest, with the work they are tasked with coming in at a close second with 35.7% of the votes. 14.3% of those surveyed voted that any job progression opportunities open to them in their current job made them the most happy, with their salary seeming to have less of an impact on happiness at work, receiving only 7% of the votes.
These results mirror research which suggests once people have attained a salary that allows them to live the lifestyle they want to, other factors within the workplace take precedent - and it’s these that could influence whether someone wants to stay at or leave their current job.
Dan Pink specialises in work, management and behavioural science and has written several books on these topics. In one - Drive - he states that the things we most want from work are autonomy, mastery and purpose. This further suggests that money is not as big a driving factor to job happiness than perhaps first thought. Instead, factors such as striving towards goals, working on projects that challenge us, achieving a sense of progress, and feeling like we belong within a company or team have all been attributed as the things that make people happy at work (Fortune).
During our research, we also asked people to send in their own ideas of what a happy job meant to them (as happiness is not just limited to the four options we gave during our Twitter polls). The following responses further echo that there is more to happiness than money:
“A happy job to me is when I am given the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills I have to make someone else happy.”
“A happy job to me is one where I get the freedom to make my own decisions.”
“A happy job is a comfortable and suitable working environment, friendly and motivated colleagues and tasks that satisfy my interests in science / medicine, where I feel accomplished on a daily basis.”
“A happy job is working with great products, great people and great outcomes.”
These statements show that it is a sense of achievement, autonomy in a role, feeling a part of a team, and the actual work done that people find the most satisfying about their jobs.
What makes you the happiest at work? Do you agree with these comments or do you believe there are other factors that make a greater impact on your happiness in the workplace? After all, happiness means something different to each one of us.