It is the Work Happiness Week. The Dutch are quite happy at work, but there is always room for improvement.

On average, Dutch people rate their 'working happiness' with a 7.2, according to Werkgelukonderzoek 2019, which was carried out by MonitorGroep, HappyOffice and the Happy Working Academy as part of the Week of Werkgeluk.

The highest scores were distributed in the 'care and welfare' and 'construction and living' sectors. People in retail, e-commerce and wholesale are the least happy.

Young people (under 25) and older workers (from 45) are happier than the middle group of 25 to 45 year-olds, and self-employed people are a lot happier than people in paid employment. A quarter of the respondents rate their own work happiness with a lean six or lower.

Researcher Arie Pieter Veldhoen of MonitorGroep mentions five factors that are most determining for job happiness:

  • Feeling at home with the organization
  • Doing work that gives you energy
  • Have a close team
  • A manager who inspires and gives confidence
  • A satisfied feeling at the end of the day

Pressure = happy

The relatively high average figure that Dutch people give to their work happiness seems difficult to reconcile with alarming reports about burnouts and a sharp increase in work pressure.

But according to Veldhoen, there is a good explanation for this: "The research shows that when you are busy, you are happiest. It leads to a flow, which is a nice feeling. But if you are busy for too long, it will be chilly happiness. That is the canyon of the workload. "

"We increasingly derive our identity from our work." Arie Pieter Veldhoen

Veldhoen is pleased with the increased attention for job happiness: "There is a lot of evidence that happy people produce more and are sick less often." In addition, workers have also found it more important to make work happy, Veldhoen thinks.

"We used to be happy with a job. You had tiles with wisdom:" If you don't do work that you do with love, then do what you do with love. " That is no longer of this time. We increasingly derive our identity from our work, so we also expect that it will make us happy. "

Is the luck manager the right solution?

Work Happiness Expert Fennande van der Meulen is one of the initiators of the Work Happiness Week. According to her, the subject is on the agenda of more and more organizations. "In the 1990s, companies were mainly focused on profit. Now they come back to that. I think a movement has been started from companies that see that the well-being of employees is very important."

"In the 1990s, companies were mainly focused on profit." Fennande van der Meulen

The emergence of the ' chief happiness officer ' also fits in with this trend, although according to Van der Meulen this is not the best way to boost the happiness of employees. "Everyone in the organization, certainly every manager, must feel responsible for work happiness. You should not put that down to one person."

Four P's

According to Van der Meulen, it requires a cultural change: "People don't get happier from free fruit or a nice office. You have to build a culture that pays attention to the four Ps: purpose , people , progress and play .

" Purpose means that you have a feeling that you contribute to something that is bigger than yourself, people that you do it with others, because people are social beings, progress is about the feeling that you achieve something at the end of the working day and play about the fun you have in your work. "

Dress as a sunflower

At the Hilversum office of Independer, the comparison site for financial products, the Work of Happiness Week will certainly not go unnoticed. For example, this week two employees dressed as sunflower are handing out aloe vera plants, because they would be good for a good night's rest.

A fun action, but typical of the culture at Independer, say employees Carole Veldhuis and Steve van Driel. "Working happiness is a strategic issue for us. You are a big part of your life at work. Why would you not be happy there? And without happy employees no happy customers."

"No happy customers without happy employees." Carole Veldhuis and Steve van Driel

Independer wants to "create conditions in which people can become happy". Veldhuis and Van Driel form the 'culture and development' team that is responsible for this.

They devise activities that promote happiness throughout the year; from desk bikes and workshops to game evenings. It works, they say. "Last year, employees of Independer gave their work happiness a score of 7.2. This year it was already 7.8."