The key drivers of happiness

The Five Ways to Happiness at Work are made up of fifteen core topic areas. We ask about these topics in your quarterly Culture Profile to help you build a picture of what's driving happiness in your workplace and areas you could look to improve.


3 Friendships at work

Team relationships

The relationships we have with the colleagues we work closest with are what define our day-to-day experience at work. From the ‘how was your weekend?’ on Monday to the after-work social on Thursday, our team mates can be a reliable source of support and enjoyment at work. Read more about team relationships

Team co-operation

Co-operation between teams is often overlooked in models of happiness at work but it can affect levels of frustration, stress and sense of progress. Things go more smoothly when teams work well together, but frustrations quickly build when they don’t. Read more about team co-operation

Friendships at work

All of us appreciate having good friends in our lives, and at work it’s no different. It’s good for our spirits to have people around us who we care about and who care for us. Friendships help us deal with stress and they bring meaning to the work we do. Read more about friendships at work

Be fair

4 Fairness & respect

Fairness and respect

Respect, dignity, justice and fairness: it’s no wonder that politicians refer to such terms so often, as they are fundamental to our sense of wellbeing. Feeling valued and cared for in the workplace reduces stress and frees us up to focus on our jobs. Read more about fairness and respect


When a colleague says ‘well done’ or ‘thanks’ we get a little lift – we feel better about ourselves because we know others care about what we’re doing. Appreciation is a typical behavior of happy, high performing teams. Read more about appreciation

Work-life balance

Acknowledging that work is a part of life helps us get the most out of both. If we get the balance wrong in favor of work, stress and burn-out commonly follow. It’s hard to find a family, a team or an organization that wins in this scenario. Read more about work-life balance


7 Strengths


When we are ‘playing to our strengths’ we are energised and motivated. The experience of being totally absorbed in a work task comes when we are using our skills with just the right amount of stretch. This state of ‘flow’ is good for happiness and wellbeing. Read more about strengths

The freedom to be yourself

We all have a desire to be authentic and many of us find authenticity through our work. Freedom to be ourselves is a driver of happiness and motivation. It also protects against mental exhaustion, freeing up energy for other things. Read more about the freedom to be yourself


Having a sense of control over when and how we do our jobs helps us to align with organizational goals while retaining our own sense of agency, individuality and responsibility. Part of job control is the capacity to influence decisions about our work and its linked to higher employee wellbeing and lower levels of stress. Read more about influence


10 Creativity


Using our intelligence and skills to solve problems, or create new ways of doing things, is deeply satisfying. At work, we can engage in the creative process with others, which supports happiness, retention and innovation. Read more about creativity


Giving and receiving feedback that is constructive is not always easy, but when it is supportive and useful it helps everyone work happier together. Whatever the stage of our career, feedback lets us know we’re valued and helps us grow. Read more about feedback


When we have opportunities to learn new things and develop our skills, it naturally follows that we gain in confidence, motivation and a sense of personal growth. So when we feel we have opportunities to learn, levels of interest and productivity go up. Read more about learning


15 Accomplishment


Our research has shown pride to consistently be one of the strongest predictors of happiness at work. A sense of pride often flows from knowing the organization we work for does something beneficial or particularly well, and it reliably predicts staff turnover. Read more about pride

Worthwhile work

Having a strong sense that our work matters to colleagues, the organization and society makes us feel good. A sense of purpose motivates us to do great work. Read more about worthwhile work


We all want to feel that we’re achieving things at work in exchange for the effort we put in. A sense of accomplishment doesn’t only come from big achievements – even finishing small tasks can make us feel happier. Read more about accomplishment