Table of Contents Hide
While some companies have embraced the remote working environment brought on by the pandemic, others are urging their employees to come back to their offices again. But how does this impact employee happiness? Many employees have enjoyed the perks of being able to work from home such as no commutes, lunch breaks with partners, and being accompanied by their pets.
New Study On Remote Work And Happiness
A new study found that the ability to work remotely is strongly linked to happiness at work. In a study by Tracking Happiness, 12,455 employees were surveyed about their work conditions. A total of 65.1% of respondents were male, and 34.5% were female. The location of the respondents varied with 38.6% coming from North America, 36.1% coming from Asia, 19.5% coming from South America and 5.1% coming from Europe.
The respondents of the survey were asked, “If you look at your work, how would you rate your happiness on a scale from one to 10?” and “How much of your work is currently done remotely or from home?”
Key findings of the study include:
- The ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20%.
- Millennials are happiest when working remotely.
- Returning to office-based work after the pandemic reduces employee happiness.
- Employee happiness decreases as commute times increase.
- Happiness at work is significantly correlated to overall life happiness.
The Ability To Work From Home Increases Happiness
The study found that workers who have the ability to work from home report that they are happier at work. This finding was significant as workers who worked from home 100% of the time were 20% happier on average than those who didn’t have the ability to work from home.
MORE FOR YOU
This finding, together with other statistics on working from home, provides more encouragement for companies to offer their employees the ability to work remotely. For example, previous studies found that offering the ability to work remotely does not result in a drop in productivity. In fact, it has been found that happier employees are more productive.
Happiness At Work Explains 27% Of Happiness In Life
Survey respondents were asked about their happiness in life in addition to their workplace happiness. The study authors were able to compare the data of all 12,455 respondents and found a strong correlation between work happiness and overall happiness.
Based on the data, 27% of someone’s life happiness can be explained by someone’s happiness at work. The value of this correlation did not fluctuate significantly between the age and gender of the respondents.
Longer Commute Times Decrease Employee Happiness
The survey asked respondents about their commute times if they had any. The data shows that the average person travels less than 40 minutes to the office (one way). When comparing the average commute times to their happiness at work, the study authors found a negative correlation in the respondents.
In other words, employee happiness decreases as commute times increase. Average happiness scores at work are relatively stable up to a commute time of 60 minutes. Work happiness sharply declines as commute times increase beyond one hour.
Tracking Happiness founder Hugo Huijer commented on the results: “Our study shows that employees who have the ability to work from home are happier than those that don’t. On top of this finding, we saw a strong negative correlation between commute times and employee happiness.”
Huijer added: “In that sense, companies can improve employee happiness by simply allowing them to work from home more. Not only does this benefit the environmental footprint of your company, but it also helps improve employee morale.”
In the end, he argues that working from home is better for employee happiness, productivity and sustainability: “Having your employees work from an office might make sense in the short term. But if it results in employee unhappiness, it can result in a drop in sustainability and performance that can be far more severe than an empty office building.”