Why Happiness at Work Matters


Why we need to talk about happiness at work

The unhappy employee

What does happiness look like?

Finding your employees' happy place

Why choose Sodexo Engage?

Why happiness at work matters

When the average UK employee spends over 82,000 hours in the workplace over their lifetime, it’s easy to understand why the 19th to the 25th September has been claimed by the International Week of Happiness at Work. Initially a Dutch initiative, it is now recognised internationally and shines a light on why happiness at work matters and how businesses can strive to achieve it.

This blog doesn’t hold the answers to finding true happiness and a stress-free life. It will be your guide to reducing employee stress, encouraging positive engagement and will explain how working with Sodexo Engage will improve the morale and productivity of your team.

Why we need to talk about happiness at work

Whilst not everyone will land their dream job; enjoyment, engagement, and satisfaction in our work impact our mental and physical wellbeing.

Though stress often stems from just one area, it filters through into the rest of our lives, growing and becoming less manageable. Some professions are more pressured than others, and for businesses to remain solvent, they must meet their targets. It’s impossible to remove all stress, so the key to achieving happiness at work is embedded in a company’s values and approach to supporting its employees.

The NHS suggests that stress can aid us. It’s a driver, pushing us to achieve our and our company’s goals. In 2021, Statista found that only 20% of employees reported that work-related stress was due to the pressure to meet targets.

In comparison, the report highlights that 60% of employees found their volume of work and workload to be the cause of their stress. The problems arise when stress is too high, unmanaged, and experienced over prolonged periods.

The negative effects stress has on the mental health and physical wellbeing of your employees and business can be detrimental, and that’s why we need to keep talking about it.

the unhappy employee

Being stressed doesn’t necessarily mean an employee is unhappy, and happy, engaged employees may still feel stressed. However, it’s impossible not to reference workplace stress when discussing the concept of happiness and engagement, given the abundance of research on the subject.

According to 2021/22 figures published by the HSE, out of the 1.7 million people reported to be suffering from a work-related illness, 822,000 cited work-related stress and anxiety as the cause. That’s 48%, and by far the highest percentage recorded.

When it’s estimated that sickness absences cost the UK economy an estimated £77.5 billion per year, it falls on employers to do what they can to tackle mental health-related illnesses caused by stress in the workplace.

What else do we know about the unhappy employee? They leave. For every employee you replace, you can expect to pay an estimated £2,697 to £4000.


What does happiness look like?

That’s the question we’ve been asking since time began! Happiness is different for everyone, but at Sodexo Engage, we understand that positive employee engagement is the first step toward creating a happy workforce.

Actions your business can take immediately:

  • Regular staff surveys
  • Clear communication and reporting structure
  • Well-trained, empathetic managers
  • Check-ins and workload reviews
  • The opportunity for progression.

However, this list should be considered part of standard business practices - the bare minimum because job seekers demand it. Today, with the rising cost of living, employees need more than good intentions. They need employee benefits and employee assistance programmes that will make a significant difference to their lives and wellbeing.

The financial crisis has turned the point we’ve been making around, and stress in your employees’ personal lives is being brought to work and impacting productivity. The unfortunate reality we’re facing is that people who are worried about how to pay their bills will be less engaged at work. Disengagement costs the UK £52 – 70 billion in lost productivity annually, and you need to take steps to shield your business from this.


finding your employees' happy place

At Sodexo Engage, we understand you’re unique, as are the people you employ, and we offer engagement solutions that can be packaged to suit your needs. We want to encourage businesses to view the concept of recognition as more than a way of rewarding great work and to also focus on recognising when your employees are struggling and what you can do to help.

Sodexo Engage can ease the financial strain your employees are facing:

  • Our prepaid Spree card gives your employees 15% cashback on their weekly and essential shopping. Employees can use it year-round to make savings, and you can top it up when you want to reward or offer financial support. The power is in the hands of your employees to spend the funds where needed. Made from recycled plastic, our recognition prepaid card also comes with green credentials.
  • Regularly going to the gym is not only good for physical health, but it also reduces stress and is great for improving mental wellbeing. Sodexo Engage offers corporate gym memberships, giving you and your employees a 25% saving.

  • Encourage your employees to adopt better habits, like cycling, by incorporating our fully managed Cycle to Work Scheme into your business. As a salary sacrifice scheme, there are also tax and NIC savings to be made.

Why choose sodexo engage?

Alongside dedicated account managers, we have a team whose sole mission is to keep your employees up to date on all the new and existing discounts and offers available. This ensures they never miss a potential saving and make the most of the benefits you’ve provided them with.

Ready to see how Sodexo Engage can increase employee happiness, engagement, and productivity? Get in touch with our expert team today.


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