Where do American workers want to work? At a small, collaborative company established in its marketplace. And to find their ideal workplace, they would give up such benefits as vacation time and a 401(k) if they thought their job would satisfy them.
Or at least that’s what one could deduce from the results of a Harris Poll done for client Spherion, a national staffing firm. The “WorkSphere” online survey focused on happiness at work and gathered information from nearly 900 employed adults.
Pollsters asked respondents 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 I am 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 opportunity for career advancement scored much lower, at 7 percent and 5 percent respectively.
When asked to describe the type of business that would make them happiest, here’s what these respondents said:
- 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 will go to various lengths when accepting a new job for the sake of being happier in their careers,” Spherion said in a release. “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). And, almost half of all 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.