One in four Brits say work makes them unhappy

UK workers are struggling with wellbeing at work, with one in four UK employees revealing that work makes them unhappy.

Some 10 per cent of employees report not having even one good day at work each week and only 5 per cent rate work-life balance as an important factor for a good day at work, according to a study by Robertson Cooper and the Bank Workers Charity (BWC).

The research explores how employers can foster working environments that contribute to wellbeing and why they should take the time to understand their people.

Wellbeing is connected to increased productivity, lower sickness rates and better colleague and customer relationships.

While the research of 1,500 UK adults in the private and public sector highlights room for improvement, there are positive indications that changes are in progress, with two thirds of employees feeling empowered to talk about wellbeing, and more than half (57 per cent) of people saying that work makes them happy.

Psychologist and head of client experience at Robertson Cooper Paula Brockwell says, ‘The survey data enabled us to identify correlations between influencers, such as technology, management style, workplace relationships and conversations, and their impact on people’s physical and emotional energy levels.

‘Our research shows that your energy levels — both physical and emotional — are the biggest contributors to whether or not you are having a good day at work.’

Management styles impact heavily on happiness levels; those who aren’t happy at work state they have a results-focused manager (84 per cent) and 42 per cent report not having an accessible manager. In turn, people who have more good days at work were more likely to feel supported (91 per cent), and talk about how they were feeling (61 per cent).

Brockwell says, ‘Work is no longer about just getting the job done and we need to ask ourselves more often, ‘did I have a good day at work’? It’s a simple question — but it’s linked to a broad concept of employee wellbeing, including physical and emotional energy, health, sustainable job satisfaction and performance.’

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Employee happiness