What Do You Want – More Money or More Freedom?

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Couple Playing on the Beach, Florida, USABy: Krystle Crossman

Summer means the beach, vacations, relaxation, and a sense of well-being for many. Money would make all of those much easier as it can be extremely expensive to go on vacation, especially in the economy we are in now. Does money really buy true happiness though? A recent report shows that we should be worry more about our freedom than our bank accounts.

Forty years’ worth of data from 63 different countries and 420,000 people looked at well-being by studying burnout, anxiety, and psychological health. These were then compared with the feeling of being independent and wealth. Across the board, autonomy (feeling of being independent) has more of a positive effect on well-being than money did. Money cannot buy us happiness outright, but it certainly can give us more independence to do the things that we want to do in life.

The importance of this study should be that we as individuals should look at the changes that may be coming in our lives and think about the freedom that it will afford us, not how our wealth is affected by it. Employers should seek out ways to recognize and boost their employees’ sense of freedom as it can lead to better productivity and happiness in the workplace. There are some easy ways that companies can do this.

1. Give the employees more choices. Let them choose whether they can work from home or in the office if that is an option. Introduce flexible scheduling and time off because life happens.

2. Provide what is needed, but not how to get there. Let the employees come up with an efficient way to get to a certain goal as it gives a greater sense of independence.

3. Make it about them. Tailor their role to their strengths and skills, not what you think they should be doing.

4. Ask for ideas. All employees like to feel like they are being heard and that their input makes a difference.

5. Stop the constant surveillance. When people are under constant watch they may make more mistakes or feel trapped.

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