Being happier at work: More sociable hours, fewer hours and a ‘thank you’

Public sector membership club Boundless has revealed statistics ahead of National Work Life Week which suggest money is not the only key to a happier work life.

The research, which polled over 2,000 UK workers in both the public and private sector, asked employees what would make them happier in their job.

A higher salary, perhaps not surprisingly, came out top on 67 per cent but other answers suggested a work-life balance and greater appreciation for the job they do are vitally important to happiness in the workplace.

The results showed:

  • Almost a quarter (23%) said more sociable hours would make them happier in their job – which increases to almost 3 in 10 (27%) for NHS workers and 4 in 10 (41 per cent) for police officers.
  • Almost three in ten (29%) said working fewer hours would make them happier.
  • More than half (52%) said being thanked, either by their boss or the public, would increase job satisfaction.
  • Only a third of fire fighters said more money would make them happier at work – being thanked by the public ranked just as highly.
  • Less than 8 per cent said nothing could make them happier in their job – but the figure was almost 11 per cent in education.
  • Those in the private sector were more focused on money (70%) than those in the public sector (63%).

Boundless spokesperson Darren Milton said: Of course money plays an important part in job satisfaction but in National Work Life Week we should really be considering what other issues need to be tackled to keep people happy at work.

“Working more sociable hours and having a better work-life balance is clearly important to people, judging by our survey.

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“In addition, more than half in the public sector say they feel under-appreciated and more than a quarter told us that being thanked by the public would make them happier in their work.

“That’s higher than the result returned for working fewer hours - it’s something to think about during National Work Life Week.”

The statistics also showed:

  • 59 per cent of public sector workers say they don’t feel appreciated enough by the public.
  • 26 per cent of public sector workers said being thanked by the public would make them happier in their job – higher than the result for working fewer hours.
  • 21 per cent of teachers have never been thanked - and the rest have gone 65 days without a thank you.
  • 10 per cent of police have never been thanked – the remainder have gone 30 days without a thank you.


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