This is what makes people happy at work, according to science

This is what makes people happy at work, according to science

We all have to do some form of work.

And although it’s often framed negatively, work can be a significant source of happiness in our lives.

We might not all be able to do what we love, but we can all learn to love what we do.

And there’s lots of research highlighting how most of us can make this a reality; some of which is summarised in this Fast Company article by Art Markman …

In a time when so many workers are searching for greener pastures, many of us are giving more thought to what type of work feels meaningful. After all, if you have a full-time job, then you’re spending a significant fraction of your waking hours each week at work, thinking about work, and/or commuting to and from your office. As a result, it’s only natural you’d like to be happy and satisfied with the work that you’re doing.

There has been a lot of research on this topic.


To kick things off, it’s worth distinguishing between overall satisfaction with your work and your momentary happiness. You may love your job and feel completely satisfied with your career path and still have moments at work in which you’re not happy or enjoying what you do. Satisfaction is a long-term state, while happiness is something that happens in the moment.

Studies that explore what makes people satisfied typically ask people about their overall satisfaction, and then relate differences between people in their responses to aspects of the job. Studies that look at momentary happiness focus on particular events. These studies might stop people at particular times of the day to ask what they are doing and about the positive or negative emotions they’re experiencing, or they might have them reflect back over the day and think about activities and emotions.


There are different frameworks that do a good job of predicting people’s satisfaction with their job. One focuses on the degree to which people see their job as a calling or a vocation. A calling is a job that serves a cause that has more societal impact than just the specific tasks. It provides a benefit to others and connects the daily tasks to a more significant theme. People who see their work as a calling are more satisfied with their jobs than people who do not.

You might think that seeing work as a calling can only happen if you have a high-level job in an organization, or work at a nonprofit, but that isn’t the case. Anyone who feels their work is connected to a broader purpose can experience work as a calling, regardless of the specific tasks their job requires.

A second approach draws on a framework called “Job Characteristics Theory.” The idea here is that there are five dimensions of your job that are likely to increase your satisfaction with your work. These are …

… keep reading the full & original article HERE