Autonomy and independence are important factors in determining happiness at work, according to research by a professor of economics.
Professor Thomas Lange from the University of Middlesex said self-employed people are 8% happier than salaried counterparts because they have flexibility and can control their working day. The analysis was based on data for 19 European countries, drawn from the European Social Survey.
Lange said: “People like being able to control their work day, it allows them to be flexible and can help fit their day around other commitments like child care. They also like feeling important and being able to influence decisions in an organisation. Being happier makes workers more productive – something many employers could learn from by giving workers greater autonomy and independence.”
He added: “My research has clearly shown that self-employed people are happier and more content in their working lives because of the ability to decide their daily work pattern and influence they enjoy as their own boss. This is despite downsides like fewer workplace benefits and a lower less stable income.”
Meanwhile, a poll by the university found that 74% of British workers see flexible working opportunities for parents as a fair working practice. The poll was conducted by YouGov for the organisation’s conference on fairness last month.
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