The Gist: There seems to be a consistent trend in workplace happiness, in which happiness falls each April, peaks in June, and begins to slowly decline in July. This year, declining concern for the economy may alter this seasonal trend, though if not, we might expect workplace happiness to peak again in December.
If you’ve ever been to Miami, you know how much weather can affect mood and overall happiness. The sun is literally magic. About 10% to 20% of Americans face the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder as a direct or indirect result of the sun’s absence, and surely more miss it, lack of Vitamin D or not.
So, is it really surprising that workplace happiness rises along with the temperature? Not really, but the consistency of the trend is shocking.
This year and last, workplace happiness took a significant dive in April, then proceeded to rise with the coming months. What’s even more interesting is that the number of people who said they were at least somewhat happy in their job last April is the exact same as this April – 69%.
The Peak: After both dips, we can see happiness begin to resurface, with a peak each June (77% last June and 76% this June.)
The Decline: Beyond this peak and trough, the time in which happiness begins to even out seems consistent as well. Last summer, workplace happiness began falling slightly in July, by a few percentage points each month. This July, workplace happiness decreased slightly as well.
What’s Next, and Why This Year Could be Different: If last year’s trend is any prediction of this year’s happiness, as it appears, we can expect the next peak in workplace happiness to occur in December, presumably due to the holidays. Sun or no sun, it’s hard to be unhappy when you’re spending time with people you love, and, well, opening gifts.
However, this year, there is one major difference that may keep workplace happiness high and steady – economic sentiment.
As you can see, those who are very concerned about the economy and jobs have decreased drastically over the past year. Last June, for example, 43% of Americans were very concerned about the economy, while the same is true for only 36% of Americans this June.
Additionally, workplace happiness began to decline last year around the same time that concern for the economy increased. Who’s to say that the change in weather was the culprit in the decline in happiness, and not financial fear? With the current trend we’re seeing, there are presumably more Americans who feel safe in their jobs, and that lack of fear may correlate with improved happiness at work.