If you do this for at least 5 hours per week you are guaranteed to be happier at work

A lot of factors determine your happiness, but new research has found something you can control in your work that will improve everything. 

There is a big difference between people who like their jobs and those who are truly happy and find joy every day in their careers. Now a lot of factors determine your happiness and some of them can be out of your control like a bad boss or toxic work culture but new research from LinkedIn has found something you can control in your work that will improve everything.

If you spend a portion of every workday learning, you will see some dramatic results. The survey questioned 2,049 workers including freelancers and entrepreneurs, in the U.S., the UK, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Australia, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. “Heavy” learners, defined as those who spend  five hours a week on learning exercises such as reading, taking classes and watching online courses, reported being happier, less stressed, more productive and more confident than those who didn’t do this (“light” learners were defined as those who only spend 1 hour or less on learning activities.)

Here were the results of the survey for “heavy” learners:

  • 74% more likely to know where they want to go in their career
  • 48% more likely to have found purpose in their work
  • 47% less likely to be stressed at work
  • 39% more likely to feel productive and successful
  • 21% more likely to feel confident in their work
  • 21% more likely to be happy at work

“Medium” learners (those who spend between 1 and 5 hours per week) also saw some significant results. They were:

  •  14% happier than light learners
  • 13% less stressed than light learners
  • 16% more productive than light learners
  • 32% more likely to know where they want to go in their career

Josh Bersin, an HR industry analyst who developed the survey in partnership with LinkedIn said, “There is a clear relationship between time spent learning and a person’s career satisfaction, career prospects and general happiness,” says Bersin. “People who either have the time or make the time to educate themselves are performing at higher levels.”

This is great news, right? Yes, except not too many of us make time to do all this wonderful learning. Just 7% fell under the “heavy” learning category but at least 47% made it into the “medium” group followed by 46% in the “light” learners group.

Bersin noted that people would have time for learning if they weren’t so distracted at work by email, social media, and meetings. Something to think about.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.