NEW YORK (MainStreet) — As the workforce takes its foot off the pedal this week in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday, what will they reflect on and be grateful for when they sit down for turkey and stuffing?
For starters, having a job in a sluggish economy is a huge reason to give thanks — 80% of Americans face joblessness, are at near-poverty levels and have to rely on welfare at least some time in their live, an Associated Press survey reports.
But just drawing a paycheck is not the only reason for gratitude.
A survey of 400 workers by OfficeTeam shows that cite lots to be thankful for this holiday season.
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For example, 24% of people surveyed say having "friendly co-workers" is what they're most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Next on the list is a key money issue: 20% of workers are thankful for a "good benefits package."
Other top categories are an easy commute (16%); a challenging work environment (15%); and a good boss (or bosses) (11%).
Citing amiable and supportive co-workers might come as a surprise to workers and management, but OfficeTeam says having a good social work environment is a huge "happiness" boost for both parties.
"Many full-time workers spend more than half of their waking hours at the office, so having friendly colleagues can make all the difference when it comes to job satisfaction," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "While you can't always control who you work with, employees do have a say in other aspects of their job that can improve their overall happiness."
Here are ways companies can improve the workplace environment even more, according to the survey:
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Promote interaction. Staffers say they want their companies to promote solidarity with events such as team lunches and employee birthday celebrations. That would improve camaraderie, employees say.
Get away from the office. Employers should encourage staffers to get away from their desks to take walks or eat their lunch outside — getting away from the workplace, even for 30 minutes, is a big priority among workers.
More flextime. Career professionals want to cut their commute time and believe flexible work schedules and telecommuting are the best paths to doing that.
Offer more perks. Staffers also want their companies to accommodate their personal lives — even at the office. That's why on-site gyms and dry cleaning services rank so highly with workers.
So while employees are thankful for some things this Thanksgiving, there's always room for improvement. If managers are listening, that could make their workers even more thankful — and more productive.
— By Brian O'Connell