Rising Tide – Study shows surprising findings when it comes to happiness in the workplace

A recent study conducted by Curtin University and Making Work Absolutely Human (mwah.) has found that when it comes to happiness in the workplace, Australian workers care more about who they work with rather than the amount of money they take home every pay day.

The aim of the “Happy workers: How satisfied are Australians at work?” report was to find who the happiest and unhappiest workers are in Australia, and examine what contributes to greater levels satisfaction in the workplace.

Interestingly, the study found that while pay is associated with happiness, it only matters to a certain degree, and those that report being “very satisfied” with their job overall earn a lower average income than those who only report being “satisfied”.

The study highlights that for the majority of Australian workers, the key to happiness at work lies in the job itself – which includes aspects like:

-Whether they work for themselves or for a company

-Size of the company they work for

-Relationships with colleagues

-Hours worked

-Level of flexibility in the role

“More importantly, it’s what you do, how you are able to go about your work and who is alongside you that matters the most when it comes to job satisfaction,” says Ms Brighton-Hall, Chief Executive Officer of mwah.

“Work is a core component of our existence, our identity, our financial independence, and ultimately, our overall well-being. A happy workplace where people feel valued can increase productivity and innovation and reduce unwanted outcomes like employee absenteeism, workplace grievances and staff turnover.”

According to report author Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells from the Curtin Business School, “Australians who work for themselves or in small businesses, in the not-for-profit or government sector and workers that can do some of their work from home each week are more likely to be satisfied in their jobs.”

“The trade-off between happiness with certain aspects of a job and dissatisfaction with others is evident. It’s unlikely that any job will deliver everything that is needed to be happy at work, but certain things can help.”

Some other key findings highlighted in the report are:

-Higher education levels do not always equal higher work satisfaction

-Satisfaction reduced rapidly after working more than 38 hours per week

-People who work for themselves or in micro-businesses are more likely to report being very satisfied with their job than those who work in big companies

-Gen Y and Gen X are the generations most likely to report being dissatisfied in their job

-Women (31%) are more likely to report being “very satisfied” in their job overall than men (27%)

For more information, you can view the full report on the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre website.

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