The 2019 World Happiness Report, which focuses on happiness and the community, launches today at the United Nations
Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Associate Professor of Economics and Strategy at Saïd Business School, is an associate editor of the 2019 World Happiness Report.
De Neve is chair of the Workplace Wellbeing committee at The Global Happiness Council, a network of leading academic specialists in happiness, and key practitioners in a range of areas including psychology, economics, urban planning, civil society, business and government. Council members oversee the work of six thematic groups: education, workplace, personal happiness, public health, city design and management, each of which produces a chapter of recommendations for the annual Global Happiness Policy Report. The report supports the global dialogue for happiness and provides evidence and policy advice on best practices to promote happiness and wellbeing.
This year’s report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, according to their evaluations of their own lives. It concentrates specifically on how happiness has evolved over the past dozen years, with a focus on the technologies, social norms, conflicts and government policies that have driven those changes.
‘Happiness levels are usually treated as an outcome of political decisions. In chapter three we focus on how the wellbeing of a country’s population can affect their interaction with the political system and drive voting behaviour,’ explains De Neve.
Last year’s policy report included a chapter informed by De Neve’s extensive research into Work and Wellbeing. He found that people in work report being twenty percent happier than those who are unemployed, with eighty percent of unemployed people more likely to report negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. Jobs were found to provide a purpose, structure and routine, and an opportunity to develop social relationships. Eighty percent of people reported that they were satisfied with their job, however, only twenty percent of people were found to be engaged with their work. When this was broken down further, and statistics for European nations were considered, a mere eleven to twelve percent of the population were actively engaged with their job.
De Neve notes that these statistics are precisely why research into workplace wellbeing is so crucial. 'We now have robust evidence that employee wellbeing matters for productivity and firm performance—the business case for raising employee wellbeing has never been stronger. Moving forward, we really need to get a better sense for which aspects of the workplace are most important for wellbeing and, critically, what interventions can move the needle on each one of these fronts.'
For more information about De Neve’s ongoing research into workplace happiness, visit his profile page.