Compared to a year ago, employees surveyed in the region about workplace happiness had mixed sentiments except for two aspects …

In September this year, a survey was conducted on more than 6,800 working professionals aged 16 and above from across Indonesia (N=1194), Malaysia (N=1332), the Philippines (N=1068), Singapore (N=924), Thailand (N=1256), and Vietnam (N1104) on the workplace happiness.

The results were mixed, as 35% of working professionals stated that they were happier than one year ago, while 26% had stated they were less happy, while the remaining 39% indicated no change.

Respondents in Thailand were more likely to be less happy at work than a year ago (45%). Respondents in Indonesia (44%) and the Philippines (44%) were more likely to be happier at the time of survey than they were a year ago.

When asked what aspects of their current job made them happy or unhappy, both ‘salary’ and ‘relationships with colleagues’ ranked first, at 42%. Also ranking high were their current work arrangement, such as having a flexible work schedule, with 35% of respondents reflecting this sentiment. The state of current work arrangements also ranked first as the leading cause of unhappiness.

This could be interpreted to mean that not all organizations have succeeded in adapting their work arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, or that some employees are less open to work-from-home arrangements.

According to Stephen Tracy, COO of Milieu Insight, the firm that commissioned the survey, it was fascinating to see that ‘relationships at work’ ranked as high as their salary. “As we approach two years of living with the effects of (the pandemic) it would seem that employees are beginning to desire stronger connections with their colleagues, even if those connections have to be nurtured remotely. Business leaders shouldn’t overlook the importance of cultivating strong employee relationships, and succeeding with this requires more than a subscription to collaboration tools.”