A new study by Happiness Works has revealed that the age of discontent for employees is around 35. Research has shown that this is the age at which underappreciation and stress create a feeling of unhappiness at work.
Happiness Works, which undertook the study on behalf of Robert Half UK, found that almost 17 per cent of staff under the age of 55 are unhappy or dissatisfied at work. Generation Xers – those aged between 35 and 54 – did not fare much better, with approximately 16 per cent admitting that they are unhappy at work. Millennials fared a lot better, with just eight per cent saying they were discontent.
Older staff feel more stress
The full study – It’s time we all work happy: the secrets of the happiest companies and employees – took a closer look at how happiness in the workplace is influenced by various factors. Research showed that the older generations are more heavily influenced by stress in the workplace and that 34 per cent of those over 35 years of age were negatively affected by workplace stress. This figure was far lower for those in the 18- to 35-year-old category, with 25 per cent saying they suffered from stress at work.
Complaints regarding work-life balance were also more prevalent from those who fell into the older category when compared with the one in ten who felt the same in the millennial group.
Freedom and friendship
It was interesting to note that 68 per cent of those in the 18- to 34-year-old category said they felt free to be themselves within the work environment and to let their creative side show. Only 38 per cent of Gen Xers and 31 per cent of those aged 55 and over felt the same.
It was also noted that employees found it harder to view colleagues as friends as they got older. Just 14 per cent of those aged between 35 and 54, and 16 per cent of those aged over 55, said they had good friends at work and that they preferred to keep their work and social lives separate. In comparison, three in five of the 18- to 24-years-olds studied said they counted many of their colleagues as good friends.
Appreciating the older generation
The study showed that a little appreciation in the workplace would go a long way, especially for those over 35 years of age. 60 per cent of the participants aged between 18 and 35 felt appreciated, with just 15 per cent feeling undervalued compared with the 25 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds who felt unappreciated. This figure rose to 29 per cent for those over the age of 55 years.
Phil Sheridan, the senior managing director at Robert Half UK, said that all employees should feel satisfied and that those over the age of 35 were especially important as they had knowledge and experience that others could learn from. He added that it was important that older staff members’ happiness was not ignored and that businesses should invest in their staff’s happiness and be cognisant of work satisfaction to ensure ongoing good performance and the promotion of career goals.
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