Workplace Happiness: Key Factors to Consider
Happiness isn’t always the easiest thing to come by but attempting to find it is a worthwhile endeavour. Achieving happiness in every aspect of your life is a daunting task to set yourself, so it can be helpful to break down the human experience into separate categories.
When we spend on average 90,000 hours at work over the course of a lifetime, the work and career ‘slice’ is naturally going to be a priority for many people. In terms of happiness in the workplace and contentment with your career path, there are a variety of factors that bear serious consideration. Lilli Hender, of Office Genie, recently wrote a whitepaper on workplace happiness and she shares her insights.
How comfortable you are in your job has a significant impact on your overall happiness. If you’re not satisfied with your working life, it can be detrimental to your health, your wellbeing and your relationships. When Office Genie surveyed 2,000 office workers they discovered the top five causes for discontentment and stress are as follows:
· Feeling overworked (47%)
· Feeling a lack of control over my role (25%)
· Not feeling fulfilled (25%)
· Not feeling challenged (22%)
· A bad relationship with management (21%)
In terms of what would improve workplace happiness, pay rises were voted the top solution. While pay rises can go some of the way to tackling the above complaints, – if you’re feeling overworked for too little pay, for example – there’s more that needs to be considered. Two things in particular can go some of the way to helping: flexible working and fostering a good relationship with your boss.
Becoming more flexible
Not only can flexible hours boost your engagement with work, they allow you to have more control over the role and, importantly, your life more generally. If you have to get the children to school or need to book a doctors’ appointment, rather than stressing about getting to work late or having to take time off, you can work adapted hours and make up the time when you can.
The right to request flexible working is available to all UK employees provided they have been with the company for 26 weeks or more. Employers must respond within three months of the request and the request encompasses: part-time employment; remote working; flexi-time; staggered hours; and compressed hours. The better your work/life balance, the happier you’re more likely to be.
You and your boss
When you type “my boss is” into Google an array of depressing search suggestions come up, the first three of which are “my boss is crazy”, “my boss is mean” and “my boss is bullying me”. Bad relationships with managers have been shown to lead to stress and, on the flip side, apathy.
Discussing the problems you have with your boss isn’t an easy task: they are in a senior position and while they should take criticism on board, it’s understandable to fear it will negatively impact the relationship further. Honesty is very important, however, and sometimes necessary if you want things to change.
If your manager has an open-door policy, make the most of it. Voice concerns in a measured manner and one which encourages practical applications. Stressors such as the ones found in Office Genie’s Workplace Happiness Report are too big to be overlooked. Your boss ultimately wants you to do the best job you can, and if they can help, even if it means them adapting too, they should and (generally) will. Have faith!
To find out more about the relationship between work and happiness, the Harvard Business Review note a range of studies and literature on the subject in the article, ‘The Research We’ve Ignored About Happiness at Work’.