Does Part-Time Work Make Employees Happier?
Some very interesting stats were recently released which show that the happiest populations in the world are also those that work less. So, does part-time work make us happier?
Here’s a question: what do the top ten happiest countries in the world and the top ten countries for part-time work have in common? The answer: Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Holland and Sweden.
Yes, these five countries feature on both lists, which makes us want to know if there is a correlation between part-time work and happiness or if it is just a coincidence.
Labour economist Ronald Dekker of Tilburg University believes that a correlation does exist and has argued so regarding the case of Holland. A recent article in The Economist notes that Dekker, “reckons the high prevalence of part-time jobs is largely down to the wide availability of good quality, well-paid 'first tier' part-time jobs in the Netherlands: jobs often considered inferior in many other countries.” Perhaps it is not simply the prevalence of part-time jobs, but the availability of several quality ones that causes such happiness.
A 2007 study of 3,800 couples by Professor Alison Booth of Essex University backs the correlation between part-time work and happiness further. Her study found that women with part-time jobs reported higher, “life satisfaction,” compared to both those with no job and those with full-time jobs. That part-time jobs aid the task of combining work and family was offered as a possible reason.
So is this something employers should be taking note of?
Yes, they probably should. If employers truly want to improve employee wellbeing then the fact that part-time work appears to increase satisfaction and happiness is worth remembering. In Holland, it has been written into law that employees can ask for a role to become part-time, whereas in the UK employees would almost certainly be too scared to ask for their hours to be reduced for fear of being let go completely.
Smart employers can move ahead of the competition by conveying a willingness to accommodate those with part-time work desires. The result will surely be happier and more committed workers.
Did you know? At DAM we are running a survey which could win you a weekend away!
By taking 5 minutes to complete our survey on the future of employee benefits you'll be entered into a prize draw to win a weekend's stay at one of Malmaison's 13 UK locations.
Photo credit goes to College Degrees 360