“If only …”
If only you had a bigger salary, a nicer boss, a more flexible schedule.
Then you’d love your job! In fact, you’d practically bounce into the office on Monday morning and have to drag yourself away from your desk on Friday night.
Or so you might think.
But if you’re convinced that a few minor tweaks would turn your ho-hum nine-to-five into your dream job, recent research shows, you very well might be mistaken. Here, we show you five common things we all believe would make our professional lives infinitely better, but that simply may not deliver the boost we expect. Plus, what positive psychologists and behavioral economists have found really will make you feel more positive about your work.
1. The So-Called Happiness Boost: A Shorter Workweek
Why you think it will make you happier: Who doesn’t think that the solution to workplace happiness is working fewer hours? In recent research that LearnVest did, a full two-thirds of respondents said they’d prefer a four-day workweek. Spending less time at work means having more time to devote to the activities that really make you happy. You can hang out more with your family and friends, participate in your hobbies, get more exercise and blessed sleep—or so you believe.
RELATED: Does Flex Time Stifle Women?
Why it doesn’t always work: It turns out people aren’t very good at using their newly freed-up time on happiness-boosting activities. A recent study in the Journal of Happiness Science reported on an experiment that occurred when South Korea reduced its workweek from 44 hours per week to 40 hours a week. And employees could only work five days instead of six. (We know, we know.) The result: Worker hours decreased by about 10 percent, but self-reported job satisfaction and life satisfaction didn’t budge. Translation: A happier worker isn’t always the one who works fewer hours in a week.
2. The So-Called Happiness Boost: More Vacation Time
Why you think it will make you happier: You already cherish your time off, so having more of it seems like just what the doctor ordered. Maybe that way you could replace a few desk-bound days with the ski trip or yoga retreat you can never find time to take. In fact, maybe an extra week would put an end to “vacation math”—trying to figure out how you’re going to squeeze in all the trips you want to take with the days you have left—altogether!