Happiness at work research: figures and trends every month


By Kirsten van Enk | 08/09/2021

Welcome to this monthly blog about happiness at work research in the Netherlands (and soon about happiness at work in the world!)  We are 2DAYSMOOD, a driver of employee happiness and winning organizational cultures, and an expert in the ESS 3.0: the employee satisfaction survey, but faster, simpler and always relevant insights!

Every week we collect data on excitement, (dis)satisfaction and stress of employees and managers, in various organizations from 20 different sectors, via more than 4000 surveys. Participating organizations can view their own data in real time. We bundle the anonymous data every month and paint a representative trend picture of the workers' mood. We also delve deeper into a specific theme, such as one of the drivers of engagement and happiness.

Does your team or organization also measure the level of stress and excitement (with 2DAYSMOOD)? Or is there an employee satisfaction survey being done in relation to working from home?

Then use our charts as a benchmark!

Here are some guidelines
  1. Excitement, among other moods, is measured through 8 validated emotions, divided over the axes energy and pleasure. Emotions that are both pleasant and energetic (cheerful or enthusiastic) belong to excitement. A source of innovation and creativity.
  2. When energy decreases but the pleasant mood remains, you get satisfaction. This often leads to stability and productivity in work and behavior.
  3. With these insights we create the formula: excitement + satisfaction = happiness at work = more successful organization.
  4. A good objective for a profitable level of happiness at work is that moods should ideally be 75% positive and 25% negative. Teams function best in that 3: 1 balance!
  5. This is threatened if stress (frustrated or tense) and / or dissatisfaction (tired or sad) occur for a long time. So pay attention to the development of trends! In the worst case, this will lead to employees dropping out or leaving the company.
  6. A short stress period, after which enough recovery can occur, is not bad and even helpful with deadlines. Think of an average stress level of max. 20%.
  7. Hopefully these guidelines provide insight, but ultimately it's important that you create your own internal benchmark and make positive change from there.
  8. We can help with this with a free quick scan!

Happiness at work research October 2021

Autumn is in full swing! And that also has the necessary effects on the moods of employees and the infections in the Netherlands. Measures are being tightened up again and this is reflected in the happiness data of October.

Satisfaction rose to 32% in October, but excitement fell to 31%. The negative emotions rise again. Dissatisfaction rises to 19%, and stress to 18%. We now see a distribution of 64% positive emotions and 36% negative emotions.

This may be due to end-of-year deadlines, stricter (home-working) measures or simply the fact that it is darker longer. In any case, it is now extra important to keep your finger on the pulse and to enter into a dialogue with your employees.

Do you want continuous insight into how your employees are doing with the constant change? Then do the measurement!

Happiness at work research September 2021


September has already passed, and we've noticed: summer is really over and the rain doesn't seem to stop sometimes! We're now entering the last three months of the year, so we're looking back at the September mood data. And here we see that the work load (stress) for the last few months of the year is already increasing slightly. Do you have any projects that still need to be completed?

Fortunately, it is not entirely negative. Because although satisfaction drops to 31%, excitement rises to 34%. And look at the excitement line of the past year, what a great trend! Are we really recovering from Covid-19 (working from home, uncertainty, etc.)? In the negative moods we see that dissatisfaction falls to 18%, the stress increases to 17%. And that could be a sign of end-of-year stress. All in all, that means we had 65% positive emotions and 35% negative emotions in September.

Do you see many satisfied employees in your organization or team, but can the enthusiasm be even better? Take a look here for tips to increase the employee engagement!

Do you want to keep an eye on the workload of employees and maintain their excitement? Look here to get always relevant insights!

Happiness at work research August 2021


The summer vacation is already over! And so we look back at the mood data from August. Although we were hit with stricter measures again in July and we saw the negative emotions rise, moods now seem to be picking up again quickly. And that's good news, because that's exactly the trend we normally want to see after the summer.

In August, satisfaction rose by 3% to 35%. Enthusiasm increased to 31%. And luckily we see negative moods drop again: dissatisfaction dropped to 19% and stress to 15%. This means that we are now at a distribution of 66% positive emotions against 34% negative emotions!

In July, even though vacation plans were cancelled, we urged everyone to take a vacation and rest. And that seems to have worked. Now that the summer is over, we can get back to work with fresh energy. Do you have new employees on your team, who are eager to kick off their new job? Read below how you can properly guide them in the onboarding process. After all, well begun is half done!

Do you want insight into how new employees are doing and receive feedback on your onboarding process? Then do the measurement!

In the spotlight: give new employees a great start!

Starting a new job is and remains exciting for many people. As a team leader or HR manager you can already make the process a lot easier by facilitating a good onboarding. In July, a number of 2DAYSMOOD customers gathered during the HR mastermind to discuss their onboarding processes. They now share their best tips!

  1. Send a card to the new employee before he or she comes to work for you. On this, team members can write what they like about working in that team. A warm welcome!
  2. Create a 'face book' and let the newcomer introduce themselves on the intranet with a bit about themselves. For example, Tony Chocolonely has the 'Mugshot' and every new employee is photographed in a funny way. This photo will hang in the office, but will also be printed on a mug that the employee receives for the office.
  3. Take advantage of the ICEbreaker functionality in Microsoft Teams. With this, the new employee is linked to random colleagues to drink a cup of coffee online. Very nice if the onboarding process mainly takes place online.
  4. Also make the employee responsible for a good onboarding: give him or her personal assignments in the first week. For example: who has the best ping pong skills in the team? As a result, the employee has to participate in activities that belong to the culture, or schedule coffee moments with colleagues to find the answers.

Want to know more about the 4 C's that you can't forget during your onboarding? And tips to improve your process? Read the blog here!

Happiness at work research July 2021


July is now over, and we are already halfway through the summer. And although we still had a positive view of the summer period in June, we soon received another blow in July. Covid-19 measures were tightened up again, infections rose, holidays were cancelled... That certainly does not have a positive effect on our moods!

And we see that reflected in the data. Because satisfaction dropped to 32%, and engagement even dropped to 29%. And because these two positive moods drop, that means a rise in negative emotions. For example, dissatisfaction rose by no less than 4% to 22%. The stress remained the same at 17%. In June we saw the best distribution of positive and negative emotions that we have had in 2021. But in July we are back at the same level as in April: with 61% positive emotions versus 39% negative emotions.

What does that mean for employees in the Netherlands? Again, even if some holidays are cancelled, it is important to really take that rest. We want to pick up the positive trend again as soon as possible, and prevent the moods from sinking further. It is therefore essential that employees can get back to work after the summer with fresh, renewed energy. Whether they work from home or in the office. You can read here how to do that.

Do you want to monitor the mood of your employees and organize the future of work as optimally as possible? Then take this free measurement with you for all the relevant insights!

Happiness at work research June 2021


June has flown by again, and so all data of more than 20,000 working Dutch people are back in. In June we got more freedom, clubs and festivals opened again and we came closer and closer to 'normal'.

This is also reflected in the figures, which paint a convincingly positive picture. Because although satisfaction remained the same at 33%, engagement increased by no less than 3% to 32%. This also results in a downward trend for dissatisfaction to 18%, and stress dropped to 17%. This means that there is now a distribution of 65% positive emotions versus 35% negative emotions. That's the best distribution we've seen yet in 2021. Wow!

That is not the only remarkable thing: these figures are even slightly better than June 2019, before the Covid-19 crisis started. Just look at the chart below. Then there was a distribution of 62% positive emotions and 38% negative emotions. What can we get from that?


In June 2021, the stress and dissatisfaction are slightly lower than in June 2019, but the enthusiasm is especially interesting: it is 4% higher in 2021. Employees seem to have a renewed desire to get back to work. But we still have to look to the future with care - the infections are rising again, many countries are closing again and measures are getting stricter again.

If we look at the figures for 2019 and 2021, we see that stress and dissatisfaction are falling in both cases. This is because people generally use the summer months to recharge. But last year we saw a lot of fatigue after the summer. And that's not surprising: we couldn't really go on holiday abroad, which is why many employees worked through the summer without taking a holiday. Because people did not take time off to recharge, we saw a lot of fatigue and stress in the last months of 2020. So the tip for this summer: encourage your employees to absolutely take time off and unload. Rest is very important in these months, whether we go on holiday or not.

Do you want continuous insight into how your employees are doing with the constant change? Take the free measurement!

In the spotlight: fight boredom in the summer!

Are the summer months at work usually quiet for you? And are you afraid that you will get bored? Then you can prepare for that in advance. Because boredom at work can have many negative consequences, such as a bore-out. And of course you want to be ahead of that! With these tips you recognize, combat and prevent boredom at work.

How do you know whether you really suffer from structural boredom, or whether you are facing a bore-out? That is often difficult to determine. To spot it, look at these things:

Does your work vary enough?

Keep track of the tasks you've worked on every day for a week. Label the tasks by the type of work and how much you enjoyed it. This way you can quickly see in one overview whether your work has brought you satisfaction this week.

Do you work concentrated?

Are you often distracted? Do you keep switching tasks or are you browsing the internet? That can be a sign of boredom. Try to find out where your concentration leak is.

Do you work from your talents?

If you use your own talents, you are three times more likely to rate your quality of life as 'great'. So you should also use those talents in your daily work!

Do you want to know more & gain more tips on how to fight and prevent boredom? Read the blog here and stay engaged during the summer!

Happiness at work research May 2021


Some Covid-19 measures were relieved in May. For example, you could go to the gym again and the libraries opened up. This renewed freedom was a much needed breath of fresh air for many people!

The effects of the lessened measures are reflected in the happiness at work data of the workforce in the Netherlands. Satisfaction has risen to 33% and excitement has fallen to 29%. Dissatisfaction remains unchanged at 20% and stress drops further to 18%. This puts us at a distribution of 62% positive emotions versus 38% negative emotions. This continues the positive trend, and while we are still a long way from pre-Covid figures, we continue to go in the right direction.

Looking at more easing of Covid-measures in the future, we can expect that today's remote working will shift to a more hybrid form: working from home in combination with working at the office. This hybrid form of working brings new challenges with it. Because how do you ensure that people from a distance also feel and continue to feel part of the corporate culture? What will be the function of the office? And what do employees find important in this?

With the specific survey module “The future of work” you can easily and quickly collect feedback from employees about what they need when combining work from home and at the office. With this feedback you can get to work on organizing a strong and future-proof work culture at strategic and policy level.

Are you also working on what work culture will look like post-Covid? With this free measurement you are prepared for the future of work!

Happiness at work research April 2021


April has flown by already! Although the weather does not want to cooperate yet, we are getting closer to summer. The terraces and shops are now open again: the Netherlands was eagerly looking forward to this in April. We are again seeing a positive shift in the trend lines and emotions of employees. That is a good sign for the future!

We can see that although satisfaction has decreased by 1%, enthusiasm has increased by 2%. The 1% satisfied employees in March have not only retained their positivity, but also have a lot of energy despite the limitations surrounding the pandemic. With regard to negative emotions, dissatisfaction remains unchanged at 20%, and stress decreases by 1% to 19%. This brings us to a distribution of 61% positive emotions versus 39% negative emotions. Another step in the right direction, right?

Although hybrid work is getting closer with the continuously decreasing COVID-19 measures, about 25% of working Dutch people want to continue to work partly at home. Even if going to the office is allowed again. According to MT/Sprout (Dutch source), they can concentrate better here, and less travel time and the nature of the work are also important reasons for continuing to work from home in the future. But designing your hybrid working policy will become a matter of customization: employees with different life phases and home situations will all have a different view of this. Ultimately, hybrid work will develop into the standard. So make sure you are well prepared for this and read a number of tips below!

Are you ready for hybrid work? Take this free measurement for the right insights!

In the spotlight: tips for successful hybrid working

Are you already working on the hybrid working policy in your organization? If not, it is about time you get started. Because how can you now organize your organization as future-proof and sustainable as possible if we permanently (partly) work from home? And what should you pay attention to?

Our Employee Happiness Expert shared a number of tips for this. You can organize your hybrid work policy on the basis of five important themes.

A tip for each theme!

TIP 1: Make clear agreements with each other about working hours and breaks. Be alert to structural overtime with each other, and encourage each other to work as little as possible in the evenings and weekends and to really get some rest and relaxation.

TIP 2: Since you no longer see each other in the office every day, you will have to find new (creative) ways to do this. Ensure good internal communication, and vary in terms of communication styles that fit within your organization.

TIP 3: Also take the time for informal moments. Plan an informal pub quiz or online escape room or give a colleague a call to find out what their weekend was like. Find offline contact within the possibilities.

TIP 4: Be clear as a manager, but also empathetic. It is your job to communicate what you expect from your team members. A good way to check if everything is clear is to ask about it.

TIP 5: Make a plan for the office. Which tasks are difficult to perform at home and would employees like to do in the office? How can you set up your office for this? Perhaps there is a greater need for spaces where you can brainstorm together or work in teams. See how you can facilitate this as an organization.

More tips to make hybrid work a success? Take a look here!

Happiness at work research March 2021


The spring month of March has arrived and that is a possible explanation for the latest happiness figures of the workforce in the Netherlands. We see a small positive signal. The pleasant moods during work, satisfaction and excitement have both increased by 1%, to 32% and 28% respectively. In addition, unpleasant moods, dissatisfaction and stress drop by 1%. They are now both at a level of 20%.

What does this mean? If we look at these numbers with hope, we can see the beginning of an upward trend. After all, there are some arguments for that. Spring has started with some beautiful sunny days, which could certainly make people happy! Also, although we are still in a lockdown while working from home, we are getting closer to the 'open-up' of the Netherlands. With careful steps and experiments, perspective is offered again and that gives us new energy.

Nevertheless, we still have to persevere, and that with an average of 40% negative emotions during work ... that could be better! A tip for this is: think ahead and make plans. Research (T. Amabile, S. Kramer, 2011) has shown that a sense of progress is one of the most important factors for a pleasant experience of your working days. And because the perspective is there, we can now realistically make ourselves busy with the possibility of meeting each other at the office again. What will that look like? What can we organize to restore connections? Are we sticking to the advantages of working from home and are we going to work hybrid?

Are you already making plans for hybrid working? Then use this free measurement for the right insights and internal support!

Happiness at work research February 2021


The February 2021 chart does not show significant changes in our moods at work. This is not surprising since the Netherlands has been in a lockdown for over 10 weeks and we have been working from home for almost a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Better times are approaching, yet corona fatigue and uncertainty continues to prevail. On average, 21% of employees experience stress and dissatisfaction this month. This is 27% for enthusiasm and 31% for satisfaction.

It would be nice to convert the energy that is now going to negative emotions into positive emotions. Good news, you don't have to do it alone! It is smart to share experiences and tips with colleagues, other teams or even professionals from other organizations. We also did this in our HR Mastermind session last month.

5 Tips from HR masterminds

We are happy to share these original tips with you straight from the practice of the HR professional!

  1. Employee happiness as a core value: was it not yet a core value? Make sure you add employee happiness to the building blocks of your culture. This can help to make the subject negotiable at all levels of the organization. This is also a stimulating signal to employees to come up with initiatives themselves to increase their job satisfaction.
  2. Appoint change agents: make sure you involve enough ambassadors. Enthusiastic people who can help to bring more energy back into your organization or to give shape to the new normal. For example, post an internal vacancy for this.
  3. Talk roulette (or walk roulette): create more connection in your informal meeting. Do not turn it into a group discussion, but divide your colleagues into break-out rooms (via Zoom/Teams) so that you can really catch up 1-on-1. Switch a number of times so that you can speak to different colleagues. (A walking schedule is also a nice option!)
  4. Don't cut back on online getaways now: are there too few bright spots? Are all weeks ''the same''? Make sure you turn every holiday or milestone into something special at this time. Don't let the digital forms of communication hold you back, but 'own them'! From online escape room to pub quiz, with a few google searches you will find something that suits your company or team.
  5. From data to deeds: do you have access to a flexible survey tool such as 2DAYSMOOD's? Then make sure you give more feedback about the results, or set up a new survey that is now really relevant. Just like in this blog, you can share an internal ''enthusiasm monitor''. You show that there is continuous attention for the subject and you can set a goal: working together on an upward trend of enthusiasm!

In the spotlight: employer ambassadors (eNPS)


What is the eNPS?

The eNPS, employee Net Promotor Score, indicates to what extent employees are ambassadors for their organization. Would they recommend the company to others as a good employer? They answer that question on a scale of 1 to 10. Based on the results, 3 groups are created: Detractors, Passives and Promotors. An organization with a high eNPS (meaning many promotors and few detractors) often has a culture that leads to success, a high retention rate, and a strong position in the job market!

Read more information and 5 tips to take action on your eNPS here.

How do you use the eNPS as a benchmark?

Why are we now sharing this figure? If you have done an eNPS measurement in your organization yourself, you can benchmark these scores. The underlying formula is used internationally. Our graph above therefore shows that in the Netherlands in 2020 on average more people are promotors of their company than detractors. For employees this is a score +10 and for managers +32. That is good news! Because in 2019, the eNPS was -4 for employees and +26 for managers. (This data comes from about 15,000 surveys sent in organizations of different sizes and from various sectors.)

How can you use the eNPS in practice?

Of course it is valuable to have insight into these general figures. But we recommend that you attach even more value to your internal benchmark and the goals that you link it to. So, for example, start with a baseline measurement. And then decide for yourself what you think is a good employee Net Promotor Score for your company or team.

For example, set goals such as: We want to reduce the difference between employees and managers by x. We want to talk to all detractors to find out why they are dissatisfied! Or, for example, do not take the general eNPS as a measurement point, but look at the distribution of the scores. We want 80% of our organization to give an 8 or higher to the employer.

Happiness at work research January 2021


In January 2021, we see that employees feel as follows during work: 32% satisfied, 25% ecxited, 23% dissatisfied and 20% stressed. That is a score that makes organizations vulnerable. Compared to our benchmark guidelines and January 2020 (pre-corona), we experience 12% more negative emotions. In fact, we are almost on a 50/50 split of positive and negative moods. A working week shouldn't look like this, right?

What's more worrying is the fact that negative moods have been high for such a long time. Due to the Covid crisis (and working from home), 3 in 10 Dutch people experience feelings of loneliness, among young people that ratio has even increased to 5 in 10. (Source: Op1, 3 Feb 2021)

Professor of neuropsychology Erik Scherder discusses this in talk show Op1 and says: ''Loneliness is very much linked to stress, and chronic stress makes your brain more vulnerable. You produce a lot of cortisol, the stress hormone. Over time, this substance has a negative impact not only on your blood vessel system, but also on a number of brain areas that are related to, for example, memory, good planning skills and your reward mechanism."

For many remote workers the latter will be recognizable, the lack of that energy or kick that you usually get after successfully completing tasks or goals. This nice feeling of reward is drastically less when you experience stress or when you cannot share it with others (close to you).

How are we going to improve this now? We cannot change the context, so everyone in the organization has to get to work themselves. Do you best to find your energy sources and resilience!

TIP: Perhaps these 3 trainable soft skills can help.

Highlighted: vitality of employees and managers


Since the Covid outbreak, we have seen that employees give their vitality an average of 3.6 on a scale of 5. In school grades a B+, which seems more than sufficient. It is striking though, that they score a 4.2 on the question "How important do you find an energetic feeling for your happiness at work?" In the desired situation, their vitality is an A+, not just sufficient, but (very) good. There is a mismatch, which means that improvement and more employee happiness can be achieved here. The data also shows a difference in vitality between managers and employees. It is good to be aware of this as a manager, how can you be an (even better) role model?

What is Vitality? Why is it important?

Vitality is a determining factor for employee engagement and happiness. Certainly in times of crisis and social distance, this factor weighs extra heavily. Vitality means that employees are able and willing to work under high work pressure or in stressful, insecure situations. It is an intrinsic source of energy that can be positively influenced by, among other things, a healthy lifestyle and work environment, meaning and support from social (work) relationships.

Vitality is one of the 15 drivers in the Employee Happiness Model®.

See you next month for more data and insights! 



less burnouts


less absenteeism


less turnover


more motivation


more innovation


more energy


higher productivity


more sales success


Engaged employees deliver the best effort and results

When employees feel engaged and happy, the positive effects are significant! From increasing productivity and energy to decreasing absenteeism and turnover. But how do you adjust your working climate to what teams need?

2DAYSMOOD researched, i.c.w. Utrecht University, which factors determine employee happiness and engagement. For example leadership, appreciation or work-life balance. They are part of our proven method ‘from data to deeds‘. Using simple surveys you gain more control over the mood in teams, and the risks and strengths of your culture!

Leverage the science

Profit from happiness

Get in touch for free advice, a demo or quick scan!

Always the employee survey that suits you.

Do you want to increase happiness in your teams? Collect feedback on a specific subject? Monitor stress in real-time? Or do you need a baseline survey to get insight in the drivers of your culture?

We are happy to help with your specific challenge, using:

  • Our expertise, experience and energy!
  • A demo of our tool (if you like)
  • The opportunity to try it for free
  • Or enjoy reading our brochure

Questions for our strategic happiness expert?


Dr. Marvin Deitz


+1 877 560 5790

Get in touch!

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