Listen: Researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan chats to Clare about faith and workplace satisfaction.
Christians are more likely to enjoy their jobs and have greater work satisfaction than colleagues without faith.
That’s the finding of a new study by Reventure, a Christian-based organisation promoting a healthier work life.
The ‘2016 Snapshot of Australian Workplaces’ study explores workplace issues like job satisfaction, technology, productivity, and health.
Out of the 1000 people interviewed for the study, 300 were Christians, giving researchers the chance to look at how faith affects people in the workplace.
Lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan told Hope 103.2 that more than half of the Christians surveyed were satisfied with their jobs—compared to only 44 percent of the overall research group.
And 63 percent of the Christians enjoyed going to work every day, compared to only 53 percent of the general population of workers.
Why Faith is Important at Work
One of the key reasons for the higher work satisfaction among Christ-followers is the meaning their faith gives them, says Dr McMillan. In fact in the study, 7 out of 10 Christians found purpose and meaning in their work, compared to only 6 out of 10 employees in the general population.
It confirms years of evidence showing that faith makes employees more satisfied.
“There is a deep centre in our understanding about what Jesus brings to our life, that helps us understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
“There’s been research for a number of years now to say that people who have a grounded-ness, or a deep-seated understanding about who they are and where they get their sense of meaning and purpose, are more engaged and more likely to feel satisfied in the work they do,” said Dr McMillan. “They understand where they fit in.”
“People who don’t have a spiritual dimension to who they are and what they do, however, often find it more difficult to know where their centre of their life is.
“From a Christian world view, there is a deep centre in our understanding about what Jesus brings to our life, that permeates all other aspects of our life, and helps us understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Christianity Helps on a Practical Level
Christian spirituality also helps at work in many practical ways, says Dr McMillan.
For example, 8 out of 10 Christians said their faith helps them deal with work challenges, while 7 out of 10 feel their work is valued – compared to only 6 in 10 employees overall.
Christian workers were also more satisfied with the training, resources and coaching their work gives them (60% versus 52%), and reported that they receive more praise and recognition for their work (55% versus 47%).
“Faith helps us appreciate our friendships and relationships in the workplace, gives better expression to acts of grace and mercy at work, helps us look at ways we can add value to the culture of the place we work in, and ways can give an expression of Jesus in the challenges that come up,” he said.
Healthier and Less Stressed Out at Work
One of the unexpected findings of the survey was that Jesus-believers had a higher physical health rating (52%) than their non-believing colleagues (39%). And they’re much more likely to have better mental health too. The proportion of Christians ranking their mental health as excellent or very good was 59 percent, compared to 48 percent for all workers.
When stressful times come, people of faith have spiritual practices they can turn to for help.
“Christian workers have much higher engagement in spiritual activities such as prayer and faith goals,” said Dr McMillan. “The dissatisfied and highly stressed are turning to spiritual activities even more.”
Better Friendships at Work
And when it comes to workplace friendships, Christian workers are doing a little better—another key to why they’re more satisfied with their jobs.
Out of the Christians surveyed, 65% said they had a friend at work that they were comfortable going to for advice.
“Relationships generally are a key indicator of a happy and engaged employee,” Dr McMillan said. “It’s very encouraging to see that Christians are a group that are genuine and authentic in their workplace and their friendships are real and true.”
Working to Reach Better Work Life Balance
Reventure is working to help Australians achieve better work-life harmony, the new term for what used to be known as work-life balance.
“Bringing harmony to all the challenges of work, family and other commitments, in a way that brings fulfilment and satisfaction, is a constant challenge for the modern community,” Dr McMillan said.
“Are we spending too much time at work? How much time are we spending in front of computers and screens? How do we spend our quiet reflection time? Do we give enough time to relationships?
“The critical question is, ‘Where do I find my greatest source of deep understanding and value and how much time do I give to that’.”