The pursuit of happiness: More than a third of employees unhappy at work

British workers are unhappy at work as a third report dissatisfaction in their role, a new study reveals.

While today may be ‘International Day of Happiness’, new research from Lee Hecht Harrison | Penna shows that many employees within the UK are struggling to look on the bright side. The survey by the global people management business shows that more than a third (36 per cent) of employees view work in negative terms.

The research finds that 14 per cent associate work with being unhappy, while nearly one in ten (9 per cent) would go as far to describe their work as simply ‘horrible’.

Anxiety was also found to be a common cause of employee upset, with a fifth (20 per cent) claiming their work caused them stress and angst. It was also found to be a greater problem among women, a quarter (25 per cent) describe their work as anxiety inducing, compared to just 16 per cent of men.

Despite people from the Capital being less likely to switch off with 68 per cent checking work emails in the evening or weekends, London is home to the happiest employees with just 31 per cent describing work negatively. While the country’s unhappiest workforce can be found in the South West where four in ten (42 per cent) struggle to find any positives.

Nick Goldberg, CEO UK & Ireland of Lee Hecht Harrison | Penna, comments, ‘With our working life and private life becoming increasingly integrated, negativity and unhappiness at work can easily spill over and become all consuming.

‘While it is encouraging to see that 38 per cent of employees have only positive things to say about work, our research also shows that more needs to be done by both the employee and employer to improve workplace happiness. Today marks a good day for employees to ask themselves if they are truly happy at work, and if not ask themselves why and what steps they can take to address it.’

Goldberg has put together tips on how to be happier at work

· Prioritise your personal life – Make sure you have other activities in your life beside work to help detract from any negativity. After work and on the weekends, make sure you switch off both mentally and physically and spend time doing the things you love most.

· Take initiative – If you’re finding work repetitive and boring, proactively seek out opportunities for work to become more diverse, whether that’s asking for a secondment in another division, taking on new responsibilities or volunteering yourself for training. Your employer will also commend you for being so proactive.

· Be honest –If you’re committed to making a change, then find a time to sit down and chat to someone senior about the cause of your grievances. The likelihood is that they will want to do all within their powers to help make work a happier place for you.

· Change can be good – If you are unhappy at work then take matters into your own hands. While changing your career or job may seem like a daunting prospect, it could be the major change you need to be truly happy again at work.

· Start to socialise – We spend the majority of our lives within the office, therefore building strong relationships with your colleagues can help to add comic relief or serve as a support system when you’re having a difficult day.

Further reading on unhappy employees

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Employee happiness