Just over two-fifths (43%) of UK-based female respondents, and 25% of male respondents, cite money as more important than perks in terms of influencing happiness at work, according to research by work management organisation Wrike.
The Wrike happiness index, which surveyed 4,000 full-time employees working at organisations with 200 or more staff across the UK, US, Germany and France, also found that doing meaningful work tops the list of happiness drivers, followed by flexible and remote working, for both men and women.
Among both male respondents (17%) and female respondents (12%) in the UK, on-site conveniences, such as a gyms or laundry services, are most important for workplace happiness, while 20% of men and 17% of women based at UK organisations cite events, such as happy hours or team building, as most important for their happiness at work.
One in 10 (10%) male respondents in the UK, and 9% of women in the UK, list more or unlimited annual leave as an important perk, compared to 16% and 13% of male and female respondents who value free lunches, and 11% and 7% respectively who believe free snacks are most important for workplace happiness.
Patricia DuChene, general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Wrike, said: “The results indicate that UK adults are mostly uninterested in the latest greatest workplace perks. Instead, they want to feel like they’re doing meaningful work and have some flexibility over their work schedule. Both of which are areas that [organisations] can address right away if they want to.”
More than half (54%) of UK respondents have taken a pay cut at some point in their career in order to accept a job that made them happier. Of these, 77% are likely to say they are either mostly happy or elated with their current job.
UK-based male respondents are 50% more likely than their female counterparts to take a pay cut for a job that made them happier.
Portia Hickey, chartered business psychologist, added: “One especially striking finding from [the] Wrike happiness index is that over half of UK full-time employees have taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier. This should serve as a wake up call for employers; if staff aren’t happy, they will consider going elsewhere, no matter how much [employers] pay them.”
More than three-quarters (79%) of UK respondents would reward their team for a job well done with a £50 Visa gift card. In comparison, 52% would let their team go home early, 29% would provide a free lunch, 24% would let staff attend happy hour and 12% would offer organisational merchandise.
Hickey said: “The UK workforce ranks ‘doing meaningful work’ as the most important factor that affects their happiness at work. In my experience, organisations often don’t have the language to communicate the purpose of the [business], or how each role feeds into the wider business goals. If [employers] want their staff to be happy, they need to find the words to articulate the purpose of the [organisation] and the role that everyone plays in achieving the wider business goals.”