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So much of our lives are taken up with work that at the very least we should be able to derive some pleasure or reward from it. A salary isn’t enough, our jobs should challenge us, motivate us and ultimately contribute to our overall happiness.

But what makes people happy at work?

As tech evolves and AI begins to replace more elements of work, we need to reevaluate how we build out our organizational structures and look at what will attract people to certain jobs, companies, and industries.

New research by careers marketplace Jobbio looks at what motivates people in their roles, how they see technology affecting their future and what makes them happy in the workplace.

The Jobbio #WorkHappy Index shows that promoting a good work-life balance is the top marker of a good employer for 2018, followed by offering competitive salaries and being forthcoming with praise and rewards. Flexible working hours was chosen as the one thing people would improve about their current roles in the UK while more job perks topped the list in the US.

The report also reveals that US workers are happier in their roles than their UK counterparts with 32% saying they’re always happy compared to just 23% of Brits. This is despite the fact that US workers take fewer holiday days than those in the UK with just 55% using all their holiday entitlement. This figure rises to 84% in the UK.

When it came to the impact of technology on the future of work, Brits were again more pessimistic than their US equivalents with 15% of UK adults expecting that just a minority of roles will see an increase in salary and the majority will decrease, while 10% think there will be a decrease in all roles. Stateside, 28% of employed adults think salaries are likely to increase for all as technology becomes more prevalent, while 25% think they will increase for the majority of roles but decrease for a minority.

In terms of improving efficiency, meetings were rated the biggest waste of time for UK workers (28%) while in the US it was covering for absenteeism (19%). Other time drains were administration and reporting to management, although 23% of people said their time was not wasted at work.

So what can you do to keep your employees happy?

After a paid bonus, flexible working hours were the most sought-after perk in the UK with healthcare and a dental plan taking the top spot in the US. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution, encouraging clients to offer feedback might be one viable option as the report indicates that praise from customers outranks praise from management in what makes people happy at work.

Another way to keep employees engaged and challenged is to offer training and course subsidies. This not only shows your staff that you’re invested in their development it also improves the quality of the team’s output as they develop their skillset.

The skills respondents believe make candidates more employable as work evolves are IT competency, communication, creativity, and coding.

Want to learn more about workplace happiness? Download the full report.

About the author: Aoife Geary is a Content Creator at Jobbio specializing in the areas of Workplace Culture, Diversity, Startups and Digital Trends. She’s fond of a burrito and even more fond of a bad pun. 

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