Health, wellbeing and education charity, Central YMCA, has highlighted the major role employers have to play in supporting the nation’s wellbeing after 1,000 UK adults said that being at work is the most common situation in which people feel their happiness is decreased – with a fifth of people stating this.

The research also found that finding free time for leisure, family and friends, and socialising was key to achieving good levels of wellbeing.

Respondents stated they feel wellbeing at its highest when on holiday (66%), when spending time with family (56%), or whilst socialising with friends (49%) – signalling the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance.

Despite these stats, recent studies show that the average British worker puts in the equivalent of 38 working days over and above their contracted annual hours.

So, how can you increase workplace happiness?

  • A flexible working policy
  • The ability for employees to exercise before work or during their lunch break
  • Shower facilities
  • Healthy food subscriptions
  • Open policy on reconnecting with friends/family during breaks- rooms to take and make calls
  • Events that include friends and family
  • Class activities – eg Yoga
  • Social element to work – break out areas etc
  • Ability to learn a new skill (respondents that were mentally stimulated (in the workplace or elsewhere) displayed the highest wellbeing scores – an average of 6.9 on an index out of ten, compared with a national average of 6.13/10.)

Rosi Prescott, CEO of Central YMCA, said:

“Those employers that are able to foster better wellbeing and a high level of mental stimulation for their employees will reap the benefits that a happier workforce brings – often more likely to stay in the job and be more productive, friendly, relaxed and creative.”