Employees Would Choose Job Happiness Over A Bigger Paycheck

A new report from Wrike reveals the top universal workplace happiness myths in today’s changing digital workplace, and takes a look at workplace trends around the world.

The happiest employees — those that identify as being “elated” with their job — report diversity is above average in their workplace, and say “doing meaningful work” is the most critical factor in their happiness, ranking even higher than compensation. These are among the findings of “From Positivity to Productivity: Exposing the Truth Behind Workplace Happiness,” a new report from Wrike which offers insights on what makes employees happy in a rapidly changing digital workplace. The report finds that levels of happiness are generally high at work, but not always for the expected reasons, and also takes a look at how workspaces differ in the countries surveyed.

To create the report, Wrike surveyed 1,000 workers each in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany on questions related to culture, compensation, and collaboration. The findings indicate that the happiest workers enjoy their teams, but also value balance between time spent at work and home, and their employers put technology in place that helps achieve this balance.

digital workplace
As more companies recognize the value of collaboration, open workspaces, more meeting rooms, and common areas have emerged in offices across the globe. France, Germany, and the U.K. have been quick to transform their workspaces with most of their employees working in open office layouts. The U.S. is slightly behind with 30% working in a private office and 25% in open floor plans. (Click to enlarge image. Source: Wrike)

“The nature of work is changing, and with it, employers must also evolve their strategies for building happy and engaged workforces,” said Wrike Vice President of People Operations Megan Barbier. “It’s time to update our assumptions on what drives happiness so that businesses can truly invest in what matters most to their employees. That requires building an environment where teams can collaborate effectively, regardless of location, to complete work that has meaning and resonates with their values.”

The report finds that happiness and productivity are heavily linked, with 91 percent of elated employees saying they are “very productive” at work. It also found that employees are willing to take drastic action for happiness, with four in 10 respondents globally saying they have taken a pay cut to accept a position that made them happier.

The report also finds key differentiating points between respondents in different countries. Among these differences:

  • In the U.K., the happiest employees rank “office location” as the second most crucial factor in their happiness out of the six options provided. Office location ranks fifth in both Germany and France and sixth in the U.S.
  • The leading type of workspace in the U.S. is a private office, with 30 percent of employees working in one. Despite the U.S. inventing the open floor plan in the early 1900s and saw it resurge in Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, the U.K. currently leads the pack in killing the cubicle. Just four percent of U.K. employees report working in cubicles, while 41 percent work in open floor plan offices — also leading in that workspace.
  • U.S. employees view the impact of technology in the workplace more positively. Users of CWM software in the U.S. were 2.5 times more likely than non-users to say they “love” collaborating with their remote team members and that technology makes it easy.
  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents from the U.S. and 54 percent from the U.K. have taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier. Just 32 percent of French and 29 percent of Germans employees have done the same.