Happiness at Work in Asia Survey

What do you think is the average Happiness at work in Asia like? In a recent survey conducted across over 80 participants primarily based in Asia, with over 95% working in Asia and 75% in Singapore, the average Happiness at Work score is reported at 65%. Within this population, 19% have a happiness at work score of >80%, indicating they are flourishing at work. On the other hand, 18% have a score of less than 50%.

While happiness and satisfaction are clearly subjective concepts, it is worthwhile to understand and take a holistic view of how work impacts our overall life. Especially when work takes up a large part of our time. In Singapore where I am based in, the average Singaporean works an average of 43-44 hours according to the Ministry of Manpower statistics. This translates to over a third of our time awake (assuming a 6-7 hour sleep a day). In fact, I know of many working professionals who work closer to 50-60 hours a week. In my corporate life days, I was working an average of 60-70 hours a week!

When it comes to happiness at work, various studies have also suggested that people who are happy at work are up to 12% more productive than those who are unhappy at work.

So, if an individual’s happiness at work can positively affect both the individual and company’s performance, we would be interested to know how we can increase our happiness at work, wouldn’t we?

happiness at work

Top 3 Contributors to Happiness at Work

91% of participants felt they are given sufficient autonomy in going about doing their work

Close to 90% of participants agreed they are a good performer and utilize their strengths at work. 

Over 80% of participants reported they have good relationships with their co-workers and managers, and have built a good network of relationships within the organization.


Bottom 3 Contributors to Happiness at Work:

Only 37% of participants reported they have a mentor or coach who provides guidance in their career progression.

About 45% of participants agree they have a good idea of where they will be in 3-5 years. 

About 53% of participants are clear on the actions they need to take to reach the next promotion.

So, how can we increase our happiness at work?

1. Visualize where you want to be in 3-5 years

Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?

This question is important for anyone. This is what brings meaning to our lives. Visualizing where you want to be, what kind of roles you want to hold, or what kind of work you want to be doing gives you motivation and satisfaction. This does not necessarily mean you always need to have big ambitious goals or be the next Steve Jobs. It just means that you are clear on where you want to head towards and you plan your track accordingly.

2. Getting your next promotion

Assuming you do want to get a promotion, when do you want to get it? And, how do you go about to get it?

First, I encourage you to do a self reflection of your competency and performance vis-à-vis your peers and benchmark against the requirements of the role you want to be promoted to. Then, it is really important that you speak to your manager AND a HR manager or another manager who has an influence in the promotion decision making process.

If you want to get more ideas on how to go about this, I have elaborated more in each of these 3 blog posts:

 3. Celebrate success with your team

It is also noted in the survey that 40% of participants did not agree they or their teams celebrate success, big or small. 

This is actually an area most of us can improved on easily (within our control!). For those of you who are managers, time to reflect on your own teams! Are you celebrating success frequently enough?  And even if you are not managers, you can still be pro-active in suggesting to your manager or team mates to celebrate!  The point here is not necessarily to have extravagent meals or parties.  In fact, based on my experience, many people are happy to be just “recognized” on success meaning just talking about it! And, then have a regular team meal or drinks to incorprate the many successes and learnings!

4. Increase the work where you experience flow

When we experience engagement, or “flow”, we become fully engaged and immersed in the activity. When we feel engaged, time just flies by and we forget about everything else. Floods of positive neurotransmitters and hormones boost your feelings of well-being and help us stay in the present and enjoy the activities that make us feel focused and involved. When we are able to experience this flow on a regular basis at work, we will feel far more satisfied. While some of us may not be fortunate enough to do a job we are 100% passionate about, it is possible still to engage in tasks or projects that we enjoy learning or mastering. Identify what those are and speak to your manager to see how you can incorporate them into your responsibilities.

5. A good coach or mentor

Last and not the least, you need to have a good coach or mentor! I cannot stress enough how important a good mentor or coach is and can make a huge difference to your life. When it comes to your career specifically, a good coach or mentor can guide you to plan your career path and possibilities, where you see yourself in the next couple of years, evaluate your strengths and development areas, strategize your conversations and next steps to get the next promotion, and more.

Take charge and increase your happiness at work today!

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