Are You Happy at Work? Take This Survey!
November 4, 2012
An online survey aims to gauge whether you’re spending the workday engaged in a labor of love or simply biding your time.
According to the early findings of the “Happiness at Work” survey, you’re more likely to be happy on the job if you:
- Work for a smaller company with fewer than 100 people. ( You’re 25% more likely to be happy at work in a small company than one with more than 1,000 people.)
- Supervise others. (Managers and supervisors are 27% more likely to be happier at work than the managed.))
- Work at a job that involves caregiving or direct service (Caregivers are 75% more likely to be happy than those working in sales.)
- Work in a skilled trade (Skilled workers are 50% more likely to be happy than unskilled workers.)
- Are not in your 40s. (Older people are significantly happier at work, with the least happy being those in their 40s.)
The survey tool was created by Delivering Happiness at Work, a consultancy co-founded by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. The survey has been taken by some 11,000 users in over 90 countries so far.
The firm, which is also known as DH@Work, provides executive and group coaching, workshops and surveys. The name comes from the title of Hsieh’s 2010 bestseller “Delivering Happiness,” which posited that worker happiness doesn’t have to come at the sake of profits or productivity.
The firm says the survey is a tool that companies can use to spark conversations about happiness at work and benchmark current levels of happiness.
The 47-question survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and asks questions such as “How satisfied are you with the balance between the time you spend on your work and the time you spend on other aspects of your life?” and “How much of the time you spend at work do you feel bored?”
The assessment also includes questions about colleagues and managers, workspace environment and your individual demeanor.
After completion, survey respondents receive personalized reports intended to help plot the way forward—particularly if, like many workers, they feel that work is a test of endurance instead of a labor of love.
The survey, which was created by Nic Marks, a British economist who has worked on happiness and well-being initiatives for the British government, is free for individuals and up to five colleagues. (For employers of 5 to 250 people, the price is $10 per user per year; larger companies should contact Delivering Happiness for pricing.)
I took the survey, and while I won’t divulge my score, I gained some insights.
The survey results revealed that I appreciate the independence I have at work and the social impact of my profession. However, according to the survey, I am happier with my home and personal life than I am with certain aspects of my company and job, a result that is probably pretty typical, says James Key Lim, chief executive of Delivering Happiness at Work.
“Some consider happiness to be fluffy in the workplace,” says Lim. But he cites an extensive body of research showing that a happy workforce can make a big difference; one large meta-analysis found that happy employees have on average 31% higher productivity, their sales are 37% higher and their creativity is some three times higher than less-happy workers, Lim says.
The top factors determining a person’s happiness at work are whether they enjoy the actual tasks required, are able to focus on the things they do best and whether they are proud of their employer.
Other factors that can impact happiness are relationships at work, the job’s social impact, feeling in control of your work and of workplace decisions and feeling like you’re progressing and learning.