How happy are the staff at your law firm?

December 09, 2019

Happy employees really do seem to be more productive, 12 per cent more productive to be specific, according to research published by the University of Warwick, while unhappy employees are 10 per cent less productive.

When someone is happier and feeling positive, their brain is believed to work better, which makes them more creative, better at solving problems and working with others. Happier people are also thought to have more energy, make better decisions and be better leaders.

Regional outlook

So, where are the UK’s happiest workers to be found? Eee by gum – according to a recent survey by Happiness Works (“developer of an analytics platform that enables organisations to understand employee happiness”) for recruitment firm Robert Half, it’s the Yorkshire and Humber (Y&H) region.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of employees in Y&H region say they’re happy at work – wayabove the national average of 63 per cent. And they find their work more interesting (74 per cent), get on with their colleagues (88 per cent), have friends in the office (72 per cent) and suffer less stress (38 per cent).

Least happy, according to the research, are those in Scotland (56 per cent) and the South of England (60 per cent), with 17 per cent of employees admitting to feeling unhappy at work and a sixth of respondents in these regions describing their work as uninteresting.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents in the South don’t have “good friends in the office” or “don’t get on with their teams”, while 14 per cent in Scotland admit to the same. More optimistically, most respondents in Scotland (63 per cent) and the South (65 per cent) believe they have a good work-life balance.

Other key findings

Half of employee respondents in London claim to have influence over decision-making at work, with almost three quarters (71 per cent) feeling a “sense of accomplishment” from their work – significantly higher than the national average of 63 per cent. However, 35 per cent described their job as stressful, higher than the national average (31 per cent).

Up North, more than half of respondents in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster felt valued by their employers, far greater than those in the East of England, where 28 per cent of employees do not believe their contribution is recognised. The East of England also came bottom when it came to fairness and respect, with only 59 per cent of employees believing they’re treated fairly – considerably lower than the national average of 67 per cent.

Six factors that affect happiness

Robert Half UK has identified “six universal factors that directly affect employee happiness”. First, it recommends, there has to be the “right fit” between the employee, job and company (“When you hire people who mesh well with your workplace culture, they assimilate with greater ease and begin making substantive contributions quickly”).

You also have to give staff a sense of empowerment and enable them to make meaningful contributions (“employees who see their work as worthwhile are nearly 2.5 times happier than others”). Staff must feel that their hard work and dedication is appreciated, and a “sense of fairness” is crucial, so that “employees feel heard and have a chance to speak out when they feel a sense of inequity”. Finally, employers need to encourage positive workplace relationships and a “sense of camaraderie”.

And you mustn’t allow your staff to become bored if you want to keep them happy and committed. Another recent poll (by “one of the UK’s leading independent job boards”) CV Library suggests that sheer boredom has led more than half of UK workers to look around for a new job. One in four (26.6%) of UK workers feel bored at work every week; with 16.6 per cent bored at work on a daily basis.

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