Happiness at work research: figures and trends every month


By Mare Derks | February 4, 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 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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