Happy at work

A recent happiness survey conducted in the United Kingdom has attempted to establish what most contributes to the happiness of the workforce. It has come up with some very interesting findings. What has really become apparent is how little financial rewards play in creating a happy environment, and that the results of the survey proved to be most illuminating.

Surprisingly, the happiest and most contented workers were beauty therapists, hairdressers and members of the defence forces. It is interesting that the defence force personnel who have a danger aspect to their job, still enjoy their job best.

By contrast, the much higher paid jobs in information technology, banking, finance, building and construction are at the other end of the scale with the unhappiest workers.

These positions other than construction positions are for number crunching positions. One could find these employees in security first jobs, as they cannot take a risky job.

Joining them are nurses, who probably get the booby prize of lower wages and lousy job satisfaction.

The survey suggests that the main factors in being happy at work are having an interest in what you do, a good work-life balance and friendly colleagues.

Less than half of workers said they stayed in their jobs because of the amount of money they were paid.

"With a clear impact on the bottom line, improving workplace happiness is rising up the business agenda and employers cannot afford to ignore it," said survey spokesman Bob Coates.

"Companies can no longer rely on those established reward and recognition policies that fail to resonate with employees and do little to combat stress levels in the workplace.

"By taking such a blinkered approach, they risk the rise of an unmotivated and unproductive workforce, and even potentially losing their staff to competitors."

The survey shows that despite workers rating work-life balance as important, only one in five employers were adopting flexible work practices and less than one in 10 managers allowed employees to work from home.

With the age of technology we live in, it will be interesting to see how people in the future work from home.

Next down the happiness list were chefs and catering workers, followed by retail staff, teachers, marketing and accountancy, then secretary/receptionists, plumbers, engineers and architects.

Near the tail come journalists, mechanics, human resources and call centre employees - all of whom share certain hostility from the wider population.

Published on June 6-th, 2008 in Financial Planning
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.

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