SURVEY SAYS: Happy at Work

We recently covered research that explored the factors that contribute to employees being happy at work.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Are you happy at work, and which factors contribute to you being happy at work?”

Asked, on a scale from 1 to 5, how happy responding readers are at work, 1.6% selected 1 for “not at all happy,” 16.1% selected 2 for “mostly unhappy,” and 11.3% selected 3 for “neither mostly happy nor mostly unhappy.” The majority of responding readers (56.4%) selected 4 for “mostly happy,” and 14.5% selected 5 for “completely happy.”

The top factors respondents say contribute or would contribute to their happiness at work are interest in their work (68.4%), being treated with respect and fairness (61.8%), being shown appreciation for their work (59.2%), getting along with coworkers (44.7%) and being able to help people (43.4%).

Other factors ranked as follows:

  • Opportunities for advancement – 17.1%;
  • A nice office environment – 42.1%;
  • Having a manageable workload – 34.2%;
  • Pride in my company – 34.2%;
  • Great salary – 40.8%;
  • Great benefits – 39.5%; and
  • Other ‘perks’ provided by my employer – 15.8%.

In addition, 15.8% selected “All of the above,” and 32.9% chose “Other.” Among “other” responses were having a great boss, flexibility in work schedules, having the resources and technology to help do the job, not being constantly “on call,” being heard, a better work location, management integrity, less personal sharing by co-workers, and being able to bring pets to the office.

In verbatim comments, readers shared why they are or are not happy at work. One reader thought this was not the best time for this survey: “Open Enrollment time is usually not a good time to ask your Benefits-related readers if they’re happy!” Several readers noted that it is up to ourselves to be happy, but Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I make the decision to be happy each morning when I get up and get ready for work. Sometimes, I argue that decision with myself, but I usually win.”

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey!


I make the decision to be happy each morning when I get up and get ready for work. Sometimes, I argue that decision with myself, but I usually win.

Happiness at work is often less about how big your paycheck is and more about how meaningful your work is to you and how well you connect with those you work with and for.

In spite of being fortunate enough to have most of the items listed in #2., we all have our days, and projects, that drive the quality of work life way down at work. The nature of the beast.

I worked for many years under a narcissist negative Nelly micro-manager, who used to set up his employees to be the fall guy in case things went wrong. He would purposefully withhold information or exclude you from meetings so you couldn't meet a deadline or goal. If you were to be his fall guy of the month, you could tell it was coming and you could do nothing about it because he controlled everything and he would threaten his employees with termination. He now no longer manages people and his employees were moved to a different department. I am ecstatically happy with my new boss. I may have twice the amount of work, but she doesn't micro-manage and she has weekly touch-base/feedback meetings. The office environment is now supportive and she has done a lot to rebuild the trust that was destroyed by her predecessor. So, yes, I am mostly happy at work now. 🙂

Since I am one of the owners of the company, I think I have advanced as far as I can go.

I'm so blessed to work for a company that cares about and respects its employees and clients. Many of us have been here for 20 years or more!

I used to love my job because I was dealing directly with/helping people (fellow employees). I was promoted to management and now deal mostly with policy, procedures, regulations and rules. Not much joy in that.

Happiness at work is mostly due to my amazing co-workers, who have become family.

Our evaluation process is extremely cumbersome and time-consuming--and therefore frustrating and antithetical to job satisfaction. A good manager knows what her employees are doing, helps plan their work, supervises their progress, and makes adjustments throughout the year. The focus on constantly documenting goals, progress, and self-evaluation is a waste of time--especially for those of us who basically do the same thing every year. Just let me do my job!

An office dog or cat brings happiness to the workplace. We don't get to have them but I know lots of others who do. I visit them often at lunch.

All employees are not treated equally, and those that do a good job just get more work. We don't have a career path either.

I work in a "no news is good news" feedback atmosphere. But it's also a passive-aggressive environment, so I've had to learn when "no news is bad news." I work within 10 feet of two other people in a shared office, so I spend a good deal of time finding someplace to talk with employees confidentially. I've also learned that my office mates think it's great that one of the political candidates "speaks their mind!" I've made an early new year's resolution to find a work environment that is more conducive to my personal and professional values.

A few years ago when I was going through cancer treatment I learned exactly how much I was valued by my employer. I cannot imagine working for anyone who could have treated me better. But the cancer also changed my focus - my career is no longer my top priority. Looking forward to retirement!

If you are not happy with yourself, you won't be happy anywhere. Step one is finding balance and contentment with oneself.

Open Enrollment time is usually not a good time to ask your Benefits-related readers if they're happy!

Four months to go and I'm almost as happy as a fly at an elephant round-up.

Hey Management: If you want me to be on your side, just be straight with me.

I love what I do and the people I do it for. If I didn't, none of the factors would make a difference.

It can be challenging to stay positive when co-workers complain about EVERYTHING. There is always something that isn't perfect, but get over it. If employees complain about everything, management is less likely to hear real concerns and address real barriers to work happiness.

Last year at the holiday party the principal shareholders announced that they were retiring. That left the running of the company to the other shareholder. When the principal shareholders left, all the fun left with them. This year there will be no holiday party. Need I say more?

Verbatim (cont.) 

Flexible work hours keep me happy!

If you don't enjoy your work, it's time to move on

I think a secret to being happy at work is knowing where your value comes from. Working to live is, I think, a better choice than living to work.

Enjoying your job is the ultimate goal. You spend so many waking hours at work you have to find a job you really like.

Only YOU can make you happy. - Aaron "Marty" Martinson. If I'm not happy then I need to do something to make me happy. It's no one else's responsibility but mine.

Love my work, but not so much the politics.

My top two factors are my co-workers and my boss.

Work is a means to an end, that sweet paycheck. Might as well be happy!

On any given day I could probably "go low" and find things to complain about as nothing is perfect. However, I enjoy my career and choose to "go high" and be happy.

My employer promotes good work/life balance and treats us as professionals

If only the company ever once put employees first over shareholders.

I believe that if you let your happiness depend on any factor or person then you are setting yourself up for trouble. Just decide to be happy, constantly reinforce it and you'll be happy anywhere and with anyone.

I like almost everyone I work with....except my inept, unqualified boss. One person can truly ruin the entire work experience.

My manager does not micro-manage

No job is perfect, have to make an effort to see the glass as more than 1/2 full and be happy with work and with life! Life is too short to focus on the negatives.

Having a great boss makes all the difference!

The two things you can control at work are your effort and your attitude. While at times that is easier said than done if you are successful at this you can be happy.

Moving from corporate to state is being in a parallel universe. I'm fully vested in 1.6 years, will retire with a small pension and then I'm back to corporate America - land that I love....

Used to have a book of ongoing clients with whom I bonded. Now it's all project work geared toward winding down DB plans. Sad.

I am in the wind-down stage of my career with retirement in sight so I've seen it all. I am most happy in work when the rest of my co-workers are happy and there is less complaining and pettiness. When there is a friendly, satisfied happy atmosphere in the office it spreads to everyone and makes for a great day; and of course if all our clients would be too - it would be a super great day.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.