Wellbeing and job satisfaction increases with autonomy, research says

Employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their wellbeing and greater job satisfaction, according to a study by the University of Birmingham Business School.

Key findings were:

  • Those in management reported the highest levels of autonomy, with 90 per cent saying they had ‘some’ or ‘a lot’.
  • Professionals reported much less autonomy, particularly over the pace of work and working hours.
  • Half of lower-skilled employees reported having no autonomy at all.
  • In many cases, managers remain unwilling to offer employees greater levels of autonomy, because their primary role remains one of ‘control and effort extraction’.
  • Men and women were affected in different ways by the type of autonomy they experienced.

Dr Daniel Wheatley, of the University of Birmingham Business School, said: "The positive effects associated with informal flexibility and working at home offer further support to the suggestion that schedule control is highly valued and important to employees 'enjoying' work."

Read more: Autonomy in the workplace has positive effects on well-being and job satisfaction, study finds