The annual survey on employee happiness in the UK from technology employee service business Personal Group has shown a 20 per cent drop in workplace happiness over the past three years. Today, only 41 per cent of the workforce are happy most of the time at work, down from 43 per cent in 2018 and 51 per cent in 2017.
Worryingly it is frontline employees who feel the most negative about their working life in 2019, with 83 per cent of frontline staff unable to recall anything that has made them feel more positive about their working life in the last month.
This sorry state is echoed by worsening metrics around all employees’ keenness to get to work in the mornings and their enthusiasm for their job, both of which have seen dramatic negative movement over the past three years. In 2019, 47 per cent of employees aren’t keen to get to work in the morning, up from 36 per cent in 2017, and the number of employees who are enthusiastic about their job has slipped from 52 per cent in 2017 to only 41 per cent today.
Deborah Frost, Chief Executive of Personal Group said: “At first glance these survey results seem to paint a bleak picture of UK workplaces in 2019, but the number of employees who feel they are working as efficiently as possible has actually increased year on year, suggesting that despite falling happiness levels, efficiency and productivity may be increasing.
“On the whole, people inherently want to do a good job, and our role as employers should be to recognise and reward this effort,” Frost added. “More recognition still remains one of the most sought after workplace benefits, so if companies across the UK want to remain competitive, it’s vital that they take the time to listen to their employees and understand the impact a positive working environment can have on workplace happiness, job satisfaction and organisational performance.”
Key survey highlights include:
Happiness in the workplace
- A mere 41 per cent of employees are happy most of the time at work; 26 per cent are rarely/ almost never happy.
- Over the past three years, employees seem to be getting unhappier in the workplace. Compared to 41 per cent in 2019 and 43 per cent in 2018, 51 per cent were happy at work most of the time back in 2017.
- According to the survey, happiness in the workplace increases with seniority. In 2019, 68 per cent of directors and company owners were happy most of the time at work, compared to only 37 per cent of frontline employees and team members.
- The self-employed are the happiest at work (63 per cent happy most of the time), followed by contractors (53 per cent), with the directly employed showing the lowest happiness levels (39 per cent)
Working as efficiently as possible
- Efficiency in the workplace appears to have increased over time, with 54 per cent of employees saying they work efficiently most of time compared to 52 per cent in 2018 and 51 per cent in 2017.
- Efficiency levels in Senior Management and Heads of Departments have also significantly increased since 2018. The number who report never or rarely working as efficiently as possible has more than halved since 2018 (moving from 30 per cent in 2018 to only 13 per cent in 2019)
Feeling positive about your working life
- A startling 79 per cent of employees surveyed can’t recall anything from the last month that has made them feel more positive about working life. This is consistent amongst both men (78 per cent) and women (80 per cent).
- This statistic has increased since 2017, when 68 per cent of employees said they couldn’t recall anything happening that had made them feel positive about their working life.
- Senior managers/department heads feel the most positive in the workplace with 45 per centable to recall something positive from the past month.
- Yet over half of all employees (53 per cent) can recall something specific happening in the past month that has made them feel less positive about working life.