Happiness is more important than money for UK employees

Achieving personal happiness and contentment is a top priority for many UK employees and nearly three in five (58%) have said they would choose to earn less money if they could work for a firm that provides them with the time to pursue their interests.

According to the O2 Values Working Report 95% of the 1,201 respondents thought having a good work-life balance was important to them and almost half (48%) said it was more valuable now than 12 months ago.

In addition, 44% said having control over the way they spend their time has become more important to them over the last 12 months. And more than half (53%) disagree with the statement ‘work should come first even if it means less spare time’. Just one in five (20%) agree with this statement.

Ann Pickering, HR director at Telefonica O2 UK, said: “The onset of recession in the British [economy] led to significant changes for many of us. While there is speculation that there’s a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, the last 12 months will have had a long-lasting effect. As our report indicates for many that means a reassessment of what is important in life.

“Training is a key focus for O2 and we continue to invest to help our people achieve their professional goals. At the same time we also continue to promote initiatives that allow people to realise their personal goals; we have a Learning Fund that gives O2 employees money to learn a new skill of their choice – be it stand-up comedy or cooking. We also give a grant of £1,000 to 10 employees each year to help them with their hobbies and personal interests. This year one of the recipients, a keen amateur film-maker, used his grant to show his film at The Cannes Film Festival; such an amazing personal achievement for him.”

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) workers say that being able to develop your skills at work is important.
  • Nearly half (47%) say that improving skills to enhance employability and CVs is now more important that it was 12 months ago (rising to 66% amongst 18-24 year olds).
  • And two in five workers (39%) agree that being able to ‘develop personal skills, hobbies and interests’ is now more important to them than it was 12 months ago.
  • 95% of workers say family is important in their lives today, with 78% saying family is very important.
  • 89% say friends are important and 93% say leisure time is important today.
  • 73% say work is important today – with only 19% saying it is very important.