What defines a happy workplace in the USA

  • modern office building
Published last month

As one of the most popular expat destinations in the world, the USA is an ideal place to work or start a business in. Besides a wide range of economic prospects and fair working conditions, what employees seek is a healthy and happy workplace where they can stay motivated and be productive – and that should speak to employers as well. Let's have a look at what defines a happy workplace in the USA.

Work culture in the USA

work environment

The US work culture is world-renowned for its individualism as well as long working hours that very often include a lot of overtime. Work life balance is almost a myth in this highly prosperous but also competitive country. In general, workers spend more time at their workplace than at home – which makes having a happy workplace even more crucial. A recent study by Kelton Global assesses the various factors that contribute to making the workplace less stressful. You will agree that when looking for a job, whether in the USA or abroad, the first impression is the last impression. How are employers in the USA providing a better workplace to their employees and thus retaining them? It may also help if you're planning to set up a business in the USA or elsewhere.

Mental well-being

happy employee

Most full-time employees surveyed believe that their workplace environment has a significant impact on their mental wellbeing. Physical discomfort is very likely to bring about anxiety and stress – which will naturally lead to low productivity. It's quite natural to feel overworked after spending more than 40 hours a week at the workplace, excluding overtime. No wonder why more and more professionals are now converting to digital nomadism to escape their exhausting routine. Also, factors like physical space and furniture can influence an employees mental wellbeing, happiness and productivity. In general, more than a half of interviewees value a comfortable workplace – including their desk and chair and wish for more flexibility, especially women. Mobility (chairs on wheels) and health (ergonomic design) are issues that both employers and employees tend to neglect but are crucial for workers in the USA.

Privacy and flexibility

coffee break at office

Like everywhere else in the world, employee productivity is what makes employers happy. On the other hand, how far do employers care about their employees' happiness? Paying attention to details can change a lot regarding happiness in the workplace. More than 40% of employees surveyed around the USA believe that a lack of privacy would affect their well-being and productivity. Also, one in four employees pinpoints the lack of flexibility for their dissatisfaction at work. It is probably why most new office buildings are now providing an open floor plan for employees to relax and escape from their hectic working hours. Even today, foreign workers in the USA find it strange to see locals have a quick bite at their desk rather than going out to enjoy their one-hour lunch break. In many European countries, for example, lunch break means going to the nearest cafe or a restaurant where you can have a full course meal before getting back to work. What about Millenials? Most of them value having an open space where they can sit down and have a chat with their coworkers or just relax and have a coffee -- which is perhaps why more and more are prefering freelancing in coworking spaces.

Office design

extra hours at work

Spending more than nine hours a day in a small and dull office isn't what you would define as happiness – even though the rest of the building is modern and flexible. Workers in the USA give vital importance to workplace design since they spend most of their time at work than anywhere else. While 41% of them admit that office design has an impact on their concentration at work, 36% say that it motivates them to work more. Also, 30% of them are willing to do overtime thanks to their modern and trendy workplace design. Millennials value not only their privacy but also the sense of community within the workplace. According to them, having whiteboards, glass boards or cork boards helps in creating a more relaxes atmosphere while strengthening the ties between coworkers. It's also worth noting that 54% of employees interviewed feel more productive and are willing to work more within a modern and dynamic workplace.


technology at work

It's not even surprising that foreign professionals or entrepreneurs in the USA prefer big cities like New York and San Francisco. The Silicon Valley, for example, is a world-famous technology hub with a developed infrastructure and trendy ultra-modern workspaces. In this digital era, these technology-driven cities provide an unparalleled atmosphere for those looking to combine happiness at the workplace with practicality. Millennials are appreciating the chance of working with the latest technologies and having at least two screens on their desk with fast internet connection so that they won't have to complain when faced to strict deadlines. Besides, the USA is one of the world's most technologically advanced nation, so you have nothing to worry about on this end.