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Colleagues make us happy


Colleagues make each other happy, but managers make us unhappy

18 per cent want to change their job – now

61 per cent of Swedes are satisfied with their lives. It is the people around us – our family, friends and colleagues – who make us happy. At work, it is managers who make us unhappy. Poor leadership stresses us and pushes us to look for a new job. 18 per cent want to change their job now, and 33 per cent want to do so within two years.

These are the findings of Wise Group’s annual survey, Wise Happiness.

61 per cent of Swedes are satisfied with their lives, and 18 per cent would even say they are happy. 16 per cent are dissatisfied. The most important factors in terms of our happiness are people, a loving relationship, active leisure and job satisfaction.

Colleagues bring us happiness

At work, it is our colleagues, working climate, meaningfulness and appreciation that make us happy. Just under a third of employees are so happy in their jobs that they never want to change their workplace. 20 per cent are not stressed by anything at work, and 70 per cent certainly do not want to change their manager.

Bad managers make us unhappy

However, just over one in three want to change their job within two years. The main reason for this is having a poor manager, and that a lack of clarity affects them at work. They are much more stressed at work, despite their workload being no higher than other people’s workloads. Their work situation has a negative impact on their happiness – not only during working hours, but 24 hours a day.

24 per cent would like to change their manager, but twice as many – 45 per cent – certainly do not want to do so.

“Most managers are good managers, but those who aren’t make people unhappy,” says Roland Gustavsson, CEO and President of Wise Group AB. “So there’s every reason to work to find a solution, at individual, management and company levels.”

Tips for companies:

  • Assume that all employees want to do their best, and give them the right conditions to do so.
  • Give clear instructions about what it means to be a manager in your company, and what support they can expect.
  • Give managers time to lead and the right conditions to be able to do so.
  • Measure how managers perform and what employees think of them.
  • Support leaders in their development.Tips for managers:
  • Assume that all employees want to do their best. If they don’t, you need to deal with the problem.Take the time to observe and lead employees.
  • Work continuously to develop your team.
  • Do not accept groups that are too large. Your team should be no bigger than eleven people.
  •  Give your employees the best possible conditions to do a good job.
  • Make it clear how meaningful your employees’ work is.
  • Give feedback.
  • Leadership is something you do all the time, and is never finished.
  • You are their leader, not a workmate. If you ensure that they have the right conditions, they will strengthen each other and achieve a working climate in which work is carried out happily.Tips for employees:
  • Let your opinion of your line manager be an important factor when deciding to accept a job.
  • You are not a victim under a poor manager; you have a responsibility to do your job and to take care of your own well-being.
  • Take responsibility for resolving the problem. Be clear about what you need, what you lack and what stresses you.
  • Try to find other sources of enjoyment, both at work and in your free time.
  • Your job shouldn’t make you unhappy. If you can’t resolve the problem, change your job.

    These tips are based on the results from the survey and Wise Group’s experience. The survey also shows that:

    61 per cent of Swedes are satisfied with their lives, and 18 per cent would even say they are happy. 15 per cent are dissatisfied with their lives.

    It is our colleagues, working climate, meaningfulness and appreciation that make us most happy at work.

    Security, salary and benefits come next. Learning and skills development take fourth place.

    When we retire and look back at our working life, we believe that we will be most happy about our colleagues, meaningfulness and appreciation, as well as the problems we have resolved and successful business deals that we have contributed towards.

    The older we grow, the more meaningful we see our work as being. But we have the most fun and believe that we have the greatest opportunities for development when we are young. These then decline with age.

    Stress has the greatest negative impact on our happiness.

    35 per cent are stressed at work, while 33 per cent are not. Ordinary employees are stressed by a high workload, their manager’s leadership and a lack of clarity. Managers are stressed by a high workload, constantly being interrupted and a lack of clarity. Those who are self-employed are stressed by nothing, being interrupted at work, a high workload and technology problems.

    25 per cent are stressed during their leisure time. Time pressure stresses us most of all, throughout our lives and regardless of our occupation. Finances come next. Managers are more stressed than other people by personal relationships. Workers are stressed by loneliness. Older people and the self-employed are stressed by their health.

    The perception of stress becomes less with age.

    People in Sweden want to change their workplace more quickly than those in Denmark, with 18 per cent of Swedes wanting to do so now compared with 10 per cent of Danes. 30 per cent of Swedes never want to change their workplace, compared with 42 per cent of Danes.

    The need to change workplace decreases with age.

    57 per cent of civil servants believe it is important to have a clear demarcation between work and leisure, and 52 per cent believe that they have this. This is most important to young people, and the need decreases with age.

    Find out more about the survey here.

    About Wise Happiness 2015:

    The survey was carried out by the opinion and market research company YouGov in February 2015. A total of 2,016 people aged between 18 and 74 in Sweden and Denmark were interviewed online. This is the fourth year running that Wise Group has studied what makes us happy.

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