- Self-employed workers are happier than people who work for others, despite the longer work hours and job insecurity they experience, according to research by business experts at the University of Sheffield and the University of Exeter. Researchers found self-employed people to be more engaged with their work, largely because they felt freer to be innovative and influence their work environments.
- Professor Peter Warr, a co-author of the study at the University of Sheffield's Institute of Work Psychology, said that self-employed workers value their autonomy and the freedom to be innovative, express their own perspectives, be influential beyond their own role and compete with other people and companies. He also said that they become used to their own expertise and are fulfilled by meeting high standards. Therefore, such workers don't seem to mind the long working hours.
- Researchers examined data from 5,000 workers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand, representing a cross section of industries, including health, finance and education. Self-employed people worked in various sectors, including financial services, management consultancy, insurance, retail, real estate and education.
HR can further engage employees by borrowing a few pages from the playbook of self-employed people. Flexibility ranks high among employees, so allowing them to work at home, telecommute or rearrange their work schedules as needed can do a lot for their sense of satisfaction. Giving people control and input into the work they do goes a long way in helping employees feel fulfilled.
Supervisors and managers should avoid stifling independent thoughts and ideas. Employees should be encouraged to be creative and rewarded for exceptional ideas that help the organization's progress. Providing variety in assignments can keep employees interested in their work and inspired to raise their performance and productivity.
To accommodate this shift, more employers are turning to a relationship-centered model rather than a strictly hierarchal or siloed way of management. Strong work cultures are based on genuine relationships and employees that care about one another and the work.