Job flexibility and security are leading to much happier workers

young workers being productive in an office meeting
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

Job flexibility and security are significantly associated with improved mental health, new research has claimed.

The report, analyzing data from the 2021 National Health Interview Survey and published to JAMA Network Open, reveals workers are at their happiest when they have job security, and is based on figures from a troubling time in the global landscape – the pandemic had just sent workers home, companies were struggling to get to grips with remote working, and the foundations for a serious layoff season were being laid.

According to the findings, higher job security, measured by the perceived likelihood of job loss, was associated with lower levels of psychological distress and anxiety.

Workers just want security and flexibility

Similarly, the study of more than 18,000 employed adults found that those with more flexibility in their work arrangements, defined as the ease of changing work schedules, reported fewer instances of distress and anxiety on both a weekly and a daily basis. Needless to say, we can surmise that higher levels of stress, especially when felt on such a regular basis, can lead to overall deterioration in mental and physical well-being among workers, as well as downgraded productivity from a business standpoint.

Furthermore, the study revealed that job flexibility and security were linked to absenteeism, with short and long-term markers looking more favorable for those with higher security.

The study did not find a significant relationship between these factors and mental health care usage, but it did suggest that organizational policies promoting job flexibility and security may indirectly encourage employees to seek mental health support when needed.

As widespread layoffs continue, though to a lesser degree than in previous years, the findings highlight the benefits of implementing workplace policies that enhance job flexibility and security, including happier and healthier employees as well as a more supportive work environment.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!