Want to be Happy at Work? Be Your Own Boss

By: Marie Donlon

The secret to a happy and fulfilling career is as simple as being your own boss, according to research from the Universities of Sheffield and Exeter.

Publishing their findings in the journal Work, Employment and Society, researchers determined that self-employed individuals were more engaged in their work, thanks in part to the freedom to innovate, and found work more rewarding, even in the face of issues that commonly plague the self-employed, including longer hours and less job security.

Professor Ilke Inceoglu, from the University of Exeter Business School and co-author of the study said: "Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energized and pleased with their own contribution."

"Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”

To reach this conclusion, researchers looked at data from 5,000 workers in the U.K., the United States, Australia and New Zealand, working in a number of different industries and holding a variety of positions.

Not only were the self-employed among the most engaged in their work, they were likelier to experience opportunities for innovation, meet higher standards and achieve challenging targets.

Co-author Professor Peter Warr, from the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield, added: "Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have. They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.”

"They really get to use their own expertise, so don't seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling."

For more on the study, click here.