8 most common issues that cause workplace misery

Employees suffer when bosses are bad, recognition is missing, pay is low and schedules are inflexible.


Why are we so unhappy at work?

That’s a pressing question, given that worldwide, 84 percent of all employees are displeased on the job.

Reasons for workplace woe abound, but here are eight key stressors that cause career misery:

1. Poor relationships with bosses and co-workers.

Many people dislike their jobs because they don’t like the people they’re working with—especially their boss. According to Bamboo HR, one study found that 44 percent of all workers who left their jobs did so because of a bad boss.

Bosses can make or break a work experience.

2. Lack of recognition and security.

Who wants to toil in anonymity? Especially in today’s business environment, where many jobs are temporary project assignments, many employees feel disposable and overlooked.

Although 88 percent of employees believe it’s important for employers to reward staff for great work, a mere 41 percent say their employer effectively rewards them, according to AttaCoin. The lack of recognition and job security causes many employees to feel disengaged and unhappy about their work situation.

3. Inability to use talents and creativity; lack of career development.

IBM found that 81 percent of employees are happier at work when their jobs make use of their skills and abilities. The converse is also true. When people feel stuck with no opportunity for growth, or hampered by a role that doesn’t maximize their talents or express their creativity, they are bound to be unhappy.

4. Disliking the company.

Ninety-one percent of people who left their jobs in the last three years also left their companies to find employment somewhere else, according to Gallup. Clearly, when people look for new jobs, they most often want to work for a new company.

If workers don’t feel aligned with the company and its values, they probably won’t envision a future there.

5. Lack of pay or fair compensation.

According to Glassdoor, employees earn a 5.2 percent increase in pay on average when changing jobs. So, most workers have an attractive incentive to switch jobs. The question is, what are you doing to keep them?

Also, according to Qualtrics, 90 percent of millennials said they would stay in a job for the next 10 years if they knew they’d get annual raises and upward career mobility. Perhaps all that job hopping is for a reason?

6. Lack of flexibility with benefits and commute.

Different people want different benefits. A major issue for many workers is finding a company that offers flexible benefits that matter to them.

For example, 62 percent of employees under 50 wouldn’t consider working for a company that didn’t offer voluntary benefits, according to BenefitsPro. Many workers would gladly sacrifice some pay for the ability to work from home regularly.

7. Work-life imbalance.

Every employee deserves to have a full, healthy life outside of work. Unfortunately, 95 percent of human resource leaders conceded that employee burnout hurt workforce retention in 2017, according to Kronos.

8. Inability to start a company.

Many workers want nothing more than to start their own business. The 2017 Annual Kauffman Index says startup activity has increased for the third consecutive year, yet millions of would-be entrepreneurs remain stuck as unhappy employees.

Considering all these issues, is it any wonder that 60 percent of workers feel stressed out? Is it surprising to hear that that 84 percent of employees are unhappy at work? Sadly, not at all.

What do you think is the biggest reason people are unhappy at work?

A version of this post first appeared on InspiredWork.

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