Notre étude sur le bonheur au travail
Être heureux au travail ne consiste pas seulement à éviter les journées difficiles. Il faut également vivre d’agréables journées au travail et ce, le plus souvent possible.
Mais combien de fois par semaine les gens à travers le monde vivent-ils d’agréables journées de travail et qu’est-ce qui nous permet de vivre une bonne journée ?
Notre toute nouvelle enquête réalisée dans le monde entier auprès de plus de 2500 personnes montre la fréquence des bonnes journées de travail et en révèle les causes principales. Voici les résultats les plus importants
1 personne sur 3 vit une bonne journée de travail presque tous les jours mais 1 personne sur 5 que rarement
Voici comment nous avons défini «une bonne journée» dans l’étude:
A good day at work is one where you feel great on the job. You’re happy at work and you definitely feel like having more of those days.
Being happy a1 out of 3 respondents love their jobs and have a good work day every day or almost every day. That’s heartening, because being happy at work is not just about the absence of bad days – it’s very much about having many good days at work, characterized by positive emotions about your work.
But at the other end of the scale, 22% experience at most 2-3 good work days a month! This means that 80-90% of their work days are neutral at best and bad at worst. We fear it may be the latter. In our 2015 survey of “bad days at work”, 19% reported having a bad day at work every day or almost every day.
Good work days come from doing great work with great coworkers
Here comes what we think is the most interesting question: What makes a work day good?
We asked participants “The last time you had a good day at work, which factors in the workplace made it good?” The survey offered a long list of options and respondents could choose as many as were relevant.
Here are the top 5 single factors that cause good days at work:
This clearly shows that it feels good to do good work. This contrasts with the depressingly common view that employees must constantly be externally motivated to perform either by the promise of rewards or the threat of reprisals. On the contrary, we seem to like nothing more than the opportunity to shine at work, especially when that work is meaningful and we have the freedom to work our own way.
Good relationships and fun with coworkers also matters and is one of the top causes of good work days.
Compensation and benefits matter the least
On the other hand, perks, promotions, financial rewards and physical workspace seem to matter very little.
Here are the 5 least popular choices in the survey from most to least rare:
Tempting as it is to point to compensation and perks for creating happy work days, they do not have much of an influence.
We were sad to see “My manager helped me with my work” so far down on the list. Apparently that is either a very rare occurrence or just not a common source of happiness at work.
Bosses have more good work days than their employees
The people in the executive seat have the most good work days, followed by managers and at the bottom the employees have fewest good work days.
It is no surprise that executives and managers have more good work days than their employees. In short, the higher up in the hierarchy you are, the more good work days you have.
39% of executives have a good day at work every day or almost every day. The same is true for 29% of managers but only 27% of employees.
Bosses may have more responsibilities but they also have more autonomy and control, which makes them happier at work in almost every single study.
Public sector employees are happier than private sector counterparts
There is a perception that private sector workplaces are better than public sector ones, perhaps because they usually offer better salaries, perks and other benefits.
However, in this survey 35% of public sector workers report that they have good work days every day or nearly every day, whereas this is true for only 29% of people in the private sector. Employees of NGOs seem to fare even worse – only 20% report having that many good work days.
This also fits with our 2015 survey of bad days at work which showed that there are more bad work days in the private sector than in the public sector.
Women and men have the same number of good work days
1,724 women participated in the survey but only 764 men. The data show that women and men have very nearly the same number of good work days.
Men and women value the same thing in the workplace
These are the top 6 factors that women say cause good work days:
Men value the same 6 factors in a slightly different order:
It seems that women value coworkers a little more than men, whereas men value progress in their work a little more.
Danes have by far the most good work days – Italians by far the fewest
When we compare all the countries where we have at least 100 respondents, there are huge variations in how many good work days people have.
A whopping 56% of Danes report having a good day at work every day or almost every day. Only 14% of Italians say the same. In fact, more Italians (16%) say they almost never have a good day at work.
Disclaimer: This disparity between Denmark and Italy is so large, it should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. This study has some major limitations, which we mention at the end.
Argentinians love freedom, Chileans love their coworkers and Brits and Americans love doing work they’re proud of
Workers in different countries value roughly the same factors that make their work days better, but there are national variations.
For each of the countries with at least 100 respondents, here is the top factor that makes them happy at work:
- Argentina: “I had freedom to work my own way.” (full list of factors)
- Chile: “I had fun with my coworkers.” (full list of factors)
- Denmark: “I had freedom to work my own way.” (full list of factors)
- Italy: “I did work that I knew was meaningful.” (full list of factors)
- The Netherlands: “I did tasks that I enjoy doing.” (full list of factors)
- UK: “I did work I was proud of.” (full list of factors)
- USA: “I did work I was proud of.” (full list of factors)
Europeans and North Americans have more good work days than South Americans
It seems that Europeans and North Americans are happiest at work and 66% have more than one good day at work every week whereas only 59% of Latin Americans report the same.
We didn’t get enough replies from Africa, Asia or the Pacific region to include them here.
Small workplaces have more good days
The number of employees at the workplace seems to affect how happy we are. 36% of people in workplaces with 1-10 employees report having a good work day every day or almost every day. The same is only true for 29% of people in bigger work places. We are surprised to see so little difference between workplaces with 11-100 people and those with more than 1,000.
3 overall areas make us happy at work
Looking across all respondents, there are 3 areas that make us particularly happy at work
- I did work that I knew was meaningful and made a positive difference for someone else (50.9%)
- I did work I was proud of (49.2%)
- I did tasks that I enjoyed doing (46.85%)
- I made progress in my work (44.6%)
Here are some sample comments from respondents:
“My good days at work are defined by feeling accomplished and that I’ve made progress on the projects I’m working on. There is a fine line between being “busy” and being “engaged”.”
“Accomplishing something I enjoy doing that’s needed.”
“It’s fundamental for me to have the feeling of learning something and progressing in my tasks”
“Anything productive you do… is a happy day”
Getting things done, doing a good job, doing work that matters and adds value give us a sense of happiness. We need to be able to experience that we contribute and that our effort is needed.
- I had freedom to work my own way (50.8%)
“Autonomy and freedom to make confident decisions”
“When my manager doesn’t micromanage my work.”
Even if this answer is it’s own category, it places a big second is important factors in our survey. The freedom to do you own work and the absence of micromanaging boss, is essential for our happiness at work.
- I had fun with my coworkers (47.0%)
- People around me at work were happy which made me happy (36.8%)
“Having fun with coworkers and a distracted place to work are essentials”
“When I get to share with co-workers either at lunch or during meetings.”
“The only bad days are when the office is empty or people are on holidays. its the people that make my company great”
Having people around you with a good, personal connection is crucial for your happiness at work.
Good work days give us more energy and make us happier after work
Of course good work days feel good but what are some other specific effects? Here are the top three responses to the question “How did having a good day at work affect you?”:
- It gave me more energy (71.4%)
- It made me happier after work (65.8%)
- It made me more relaxed and less stressed (61.9%)
It seems to be beneficial both for our work and also our personal life; the energy and happiness trickles into everything. People wrote comments like:
“They make it hard to go home, even though I love my home. They’re intoxicating!”
“I get so much more done in work when the days are good. If others are also having a good day that can be multiplied by at least 2 for each person who is having a good day because our happy, positive moods bounce off each other. I work in a service environment so it is my job to help people (I get a buzz out of that anyway) but just a single thank you can really change a day. ”
“They make me want to do my job!”
About the study
Map of all respondents
The survey ran from July-September 2018. 2,558 people from 81 countries completed the survey. You can see the survey questions here.
Here’s the full demographic breakdown of respondents.
- Female: 1,724 / 68.8%
- Male: 764 / 30.5%
- Other/won’t answer: 19 / 0.7%
- Private sector: 1,712 / 66.9%
- Public sector: 543 / 21.2%
- NGO / charity: 99 / 3.9%
- Other / don’t know: 204 / 8.0%
Size of work place
- 1-10 employees: 418 / 16.7%
- 11-100 employees: 692 / 27.6%
- 101-1000 employees: 616 / 24.5%
- More than 1000 employees: 785 / 31.3%
- Employee: 1,249 / 48.8%
- Manager: 611 / 23.9%
- Executive level: 312 / 12.2%
- Other/Don’t know: 386 / 15.1%
Countries with at least 20 participants
- Denmark (366)
- Italy (347)
- The Netherlands (235)
- The UK (115)
- Switzerland (47)
- Germany (36)
- Ireland (35)
- France (33)
- Belgium (28)
- Czech Republic (21)
2. North America
- USA (328)
- Canada (35)
3. South America
- Chile (348)
- Argentina (272)
Limitations of this study
We believe this study has some interesting findings but we are also very aware that it has its limitations. Here are the main ones.
1: We are not statisticians or survey experts
There may well be mistakes or biases in the design of the survey that weaken the validity of the results.
2: We only measure frequency and not impact of the factors that cause good days
There was no option to say how much each of the factors contributed to a good work day – only that they did. Maybe some factors are rare but very important while others are common but don’t matter as much. This would not be reflected in the survey results.
3: Respondents may not be representative
We recruited respondents through our partners, newsletters and on social media, so there is no guarantee that they are representative of employees in general. For instance, nearly 70% of respondents are women.
4: Possible differences in the translation
The survey was available in English, Czech, Spanish, Japanese, Polish and Italian. It’s entirely possible that differences in the translations lead to different results.
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