- A survey by mental health research website Tracking Happiness found that the ability to work remotely is positively correlated with employee happiness. Fully remote workers reported a happiness level roughly 20% higher than those who worked in the office 100% of the time.
- The study found millennials were most likely to work remotely, with Generation Z not far behind. In addition, millennials’ happiness increased the most as a result of remote work. Commute times had a negative correlation with employee happiness, with commute times beyond one hour leading to a sharp decline in happiness.
- Tracking Happiness surveyed 12,455 global workers for the study, which it conducted in April. Nearly twice as many men (65.1%) than women (34.5%) responded.
As the pandemic wanes, Tracking Happiness’ study may be of interest to employers who are weighing how large a role work arrangements play in employee well-being.
So far, studies have returned mixed results. In early April, for example, a Workhuman study showed workers are increasingly amenable to an office return, with 71% of those being required to return agreeing with their employers’ decision. However, one-third of respondents didn’t agree with the return policy, noting it was unnecessary for their work or citing financial concerns related to commuting or child care.
Remote work remains popular, as the Tracking Happiness study and some responses to office return policies have shown. However, preference varies not only according to individual personality traits but also by some factors that are beginning to emerge with more segmented data, such as that produced by Tracking Happiness. On average, millennials experience a more substantial increase in their happiness when allowed to work remotely compared to baby boomers, for example. Similarly, women have shown a preference for remote work over men.
Employers that choose a flexible, hybrid work arrangement have the advantage of allowing employees to tailor their schedules according to their desires, whether that’s in-office five days a week, remote five days a week, or some combination. This approach may eventually maximize happiness, but employers have some kinks to work out as they transition into a new post-pandemic normal, with some employees reporting hybrid work to be “emotionally exhausting.”
Managers in a hybrid environment can use one-on-one check-ins to build rapport and keep an eye on morale, experts recently told HR Dive. They can also clarify communication and schedule expectations to help alleviate employee stress and remove guesswork.