What makes people happy at work | Incentive and Motivation

What makes people happy at work? A new study from Jobbio – known as the Happiness index report has surveyed 2,000 UK employees and 2,000 US employees to see what floats people’s boats.

This comes hot on the news that nearly half of UK employees will be looking for a new job in 2018. Speaking of the findings Paul Devoy, chief executive of Investors for People, said it was vital employers address these concerns if they wish to retain the skills and talents of their staff.


“In a year where unemployment has reached its lowest level since 1975, but wages have stagnated, the improvements to the labour market have failed to translate to the pockets of UK workers,” he said.

“With research suggesting that employee disengagement costs the UK economy £340bn annually, bad leadership is eroding UK productivity,” he added.

“Management strategies must evolve to meet the demands of employees if organisations are to retain staff.”

If you’ve been rattled by the news, you’ll be pleased to read some of the key findings from the recent study,


Work life balance is key

Work-life balance is the biggest factor that makes UK people happy in their jobs (47%) while in the US it’s feeling busy and productive in their roles (43%).  In both the UK and the US positive feedback from clients and customers outranked praise from management in what motivates workers.

Flexible hours and job perks most wanted

How would respondents improve their roles? The majority in the UK said that they would want more flexible hours, closely followed by more job perks to feel happier in their role. In the US more job perks was the top answer that would improve current roles with 10% saying they receive no perks or benefits at all.

The research also found that 53% of UK respondents think that rewards at work are the signs of a good employer, compared to 44% of US respondents. Promoting a good work-life balance includes basic pay –  UK employees value employers that offer competitive salaries slightly more than US counterparts.  (56% vs 46%)

Meetings ‘waste of time’

In terms of work frustrations, meetings are the biggest waste of time at work for employees in the UK (28%), while in the US it is covering for employee absences (19%). Across both the UK and the US, the biggest waste of time are meetings, covering for staff absences and chatting with colleagues. However, 30% in the US and 23% in the UK say their time is not wasted at work.

An office tryst was not uncommon among respondents with over a third of those surveyed in the UK saying they had previously had an office romance. However, almost 50% of people said they have not had a work romance and would never consider it.

On the issue of discussing salary surveyees were pretty divided with 52% saying they were comfortable to be transparent with their colleagues around what they earned while 48% said they were not.

The Jobbio Happiness Index also reveals that generally US workers are happier in their roles than their UK counterparts with 32% saying they’re always happy compared to 23% of Brits. This is despite the fact that US workers take less holiday days than those in the UK with just 55% using all their annual leave. This figure rises to 84% in the UK.