(November 4, 2014) Where do American workers want to work? At a small, collaborative company established in its marketplace. To find their ideal workplace, workers would give up benefits such as vacation time and a 401(k) if they thought their job would satisfy them, according to a recent staffing firm survey.
Nearly 900 employed adults were asked various questions designed to elicit information on what makes them happy, or unhappy, on the job and what an ideal work environment looked like to them. Overall, nine in 10 said they were at least somewhat happy at work, but just 29 percent said they thought they worked in a happy environment. Compensation and job security were important, the survey found, but not in any overriding way.
The top five factors in job happiness were:
- Compensation (22 percent)
- Field they are passionate about (19 percent)
- Job security (15 percent)
- Company work environment/culture (13 percent)
- Working with people I like (10 percent)
Such conditions as workplace flexibility and opportunities for career advancement scored lower, at seven percent and five percent, respectively.
When asked to describe the type of business that would make them happiest, the respondents stated:
- They preferred an established company (81 percent) over a start-up (19 percent)
- They preferred a collaborative environment (84 percent) over a competitive one (16 percent)
- They preferred a smaller organization over a larger one (64 percent vs. 36 percent)
Additionally, workers go to various lengths when accepting a new job for the sake of being happier in their careers the survey found. Workers would be at least somewhat willing to work in a less private office space (76 percent), reduce their workplace flexibility (60 percent) and even accept a lower position or title (60 percent). Almost half of workers will give up benefits such as their vacation time, 401(k) contributions and other job perks (41 percent). In contrast, workers are much less willing to take a pay cut (36 percent) or relinquish their health benefits (31 percent).
Other notable findings about factors that contribute to workplace happiness include:
- 60 percent said they are somewhat or much happier when they see others happy at work
- 30 percent of workers reported that the availability of food throughout the day contributes to their workplace happiness
- 46 percent cited a “visually pleasing environment"
- 42 percent cited working for a company that had a clear mission or purpose that was aligned with their values
- 29 percent cited having a lounge where they can get away or have time to themselves
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