Why people feel miserable while at work

Do you feel miserable while going to work in the same fashion as when you are ill? You are not alone. The only thing worse than being at work for most people, is when they are sick in bed, say researchers.

The most pleasurable experience reported by app users are leisure activities such as going to the theatre, visiting a museum or playing a sport.

Using a smartphone app called Mappiness, a team from the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics (LSE) analysed more than a million responses.

The app sporadically asked users questions such as how they are feeling, where they are and what they are doing.

Mappiness users received a ‘ding’ on their smartphone at random times of the day, prompting them to complete a short survey, during which they ranked their well-being using a sliding scale.

The researchers found that people experience a 7-8 percent drop in happiness while at work, compared to doing activities outside of work.

Mappiness is interesting because it quizzes people in the moment, before they get a chance to reach for their rose-tinted glasses,” said economist George MacKerron from University of Sussex, who created the app.

Although we may think positively about our jobs when reflecting on the meaning and purpose they give us, and the money they provide; actually engaging in paid work comes at a significant psychological cost.

“It appears that work is highly negatively associated with momentary wellbeing: work really is disutility, as economists have traditionally assumed. At any given moment, we would rather be doing almost anything else,” MacKerron noted in a paper which appeared in theEconomic Journal.

The data also debunks the myth that Britishers love to stand in queues, as waiting or queueing was the fifth most unpopular activity.

Many people have been using the app since 2010, which has helped map happiness trends across Britain.


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