Creating Joy:  Are we the unhappiest we’ve ever been at work?

To launch My Whole Self 2024, the campaign for workplace culture change, MHFA England® has surveyed 2,000 employed adults to understand more about their experiences in the workplace. This revealed that 59% of employees do not regularly feel joy and satisfaction at work. 1 in 5 (22%) workers feel their sense of purpose, satisfaction, and joy at work has decreased since the pandemic.

Concerningly, despite this, almost half of workers say they have never had a wellbeing check-in from their employer. The research found that since 2021, almost double the number of employees say their workplace has failed to check in on their wellbeing in the past year. (48% in 2023, matching 2022 figures, and up from 25% in 2021).

In 2024, we should feel safe to bring our whole selves to work, without prejudice or consequence. That includes background, sexuality, religion, gender, health and mental health. Yet the research shows only 61% of employees feel they can do so. Despite a growing understanding of the importance of psychological safety in the workplace, this is a decline since 2020, when two thirds (66%) of workers felt able to. If we don’t feel safe to bring our whole self to work, it will limit the joy and satisfaction we are able to feel in our work, as well as our performance.

At its heart, My Whole Self aims to create workplace cultures where people have the safety and freedom to choose which parts of their identity they share at work, without fear of judgement.

Employers who create an inclusive and open workplace culture will see the results in their staff satisfaction, productivity and performance. Since its inception in 2020, hundreds of organisations including Skanska, Ford, The National Crime Agency, and several NHS Trusts have embraced the campaign.

Ahead of My Whole Self Day on the 12 March 2024, organisations are encouraged to access MHFA England’s free resources including the new, My Whole Self: Guide to creating inclusive workplace cultures.  

Download the My Whole Self Guide here