The major goal of anyone in life is happiness, isn’t it? One of the most important drivers of our happiness is employment and the workplace quality of our organisations.
The Global Happiness Council in it’s Global Happiness Policy Report 2018, highlights the importance of having a job and the workplace quality for several aspects of well-being. It reports data from a German survey showing that 83% of respondents rate work as either “very important” or “important” for their well-being, as opposed to 10% and 7% rating it as less important or even unimportant, respectively.
The paradox of this is that most people do not perceive work as a, particularly enjoyable activity.
Actually, according to Alex Brynson and George Mackerron study: Are You Happy While You Work? Paid work is ranked lower than any other of the other 39 activities individuals engage in, with the exception of being sick in bed.
Incredible, isn’t it?
Daniel Kahneman in its study: A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience: The Day Reconstruction Method, show that
the worst time of all seems to be when people are with their boss.
With this being said, it’s not a surprise the absenteeism and reduced productivity around the world.
We had a look at some numbers, and, for example in Australia, absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims have a cost of approximately $11 billion per year, according to PwC study: Creating a mentally healthy workplace.
PwC Research 2013 report, shows that absenteeism costs of UK businesses are about GBP 29 billion per year, with the average worker taking 6.6 days off due to sickness.
And the real thing is not when people go to work. The real thing is reduced productivity when people go to work (presenteeism). Centre for Mental Health calculated that presenteeism from mental ill-health alone costs the UK economy £15.1 billion per annum, while absenteeism costs £8.4 billion.
We wonder, what is behind all this? What exactly is it about work, and workplace quality, that makes some jobs less enjoyable while others more?
This is a two ways issue. Not only, because work plays such a significant role in people’s well-being, but also because people’s well-being is important for the organisation’s outcomes.
This is not just a social issue. This is an economical and financial issue, too.
All stands out with what we talk about in our article: Does your organisation want to play the game of becoming a more conscious organisation? collaborators’ engagement.
Collaborators engagement goes well beyond job satisfaction.
Collaborators engagement has three categories: employees can be “engaged,” “not engaged,” or “actively disengaged” with their jobs.
A collaborator that is engaged is:
- positively absorbed by what they do;
- committed to advancing their organisation’s interests;
- identify with the organisation and represent it even outside formal working hours.
The question now is: What exactly makes a collaborator engage?
According to the Global Happiness Policy Report 2018, the answer is:
2. Working Hours
3. Working Hours Mismatch
4. Work-Life Imbalance
5. Skills Match
6. Job Security
7. Difficulty, Stress, Danger
8. Opportunities for Advancement
10. Interesting Job
11. Interpersonal Relationships
Surprisingly, the pay is not the most important factor. The most important factors are: interpersonal relationships at work and having a meaningful job.
According to Jing Hu and Jacob B. Hirsh, employees report minimum acceptable salaries that are 32% lower for personally meaningful jobs compared to personally meaningless ones.
People are increasingly motivated to experience a sense of meaning in their work lives.
Interesting is to realize, when all other work domains are good, the importance of the effect of working hours is not only tiny (it ranks as the least important domain of workplace quality) is statistically insignificant.
What seems to matter, is not so much the working hours spent at the workplace, but rather the working hours’ mismatch, defined as the difference between the actual and the desired number of working hours. This may not be so detrimental as long as it does not seriously interfere with other important domains of life, especially family. If, however, work and private life threaten to lose balance, negative consequences for people’s well-being are large.
All of these factors have been found to be conducive to well-being at work, and, consequently, to better organisation’s outcomes.
Happiness is indeed a major factor in collaborators’ engagement.
But should the organisation’s leaders engage in directly trying to maximize the happiness of collaborators and all other stakeholders? Or rather, they should lay the foundations within organisations for collaborators and the rest of stakeholders to achieve happiness in the way they choose?
That leads to the question: How to achieve happiness itself?
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Stay healthy, happy and sustainable.
Founder and Executive Director
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