One Big Data Point Could Predict Job Happiness

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Being able to enjoy your work comes down to a lot of things that don't touch on the work itself. Before accepting the right job offer, you'll also want to think about the office environment, how well you like your coworkers, and whether your commute will be too challenging. Quality of life issues, in other words, matter a great deal — but there may be one shortcut that can help you decide whether to think further.

Sociologists at Ohio State University have just published a new study about employee stress and its connection to something that may seem over your pay grade. The more transparent a company is about its financials, the better off employees feel — 15 percent better, according to the data. This includes feeling more secure in their positions, being more committed to the company overall, and maintaining better relationships with their supervisors. The relationship between top-down financial transparency and happiness is so strong, in fact, that it outweighs "hours worked, income rank within the firm, gender, race, and academic qualifications."

"Even though financial transparency is about disclosing budgets, profits, or other financial matters, the way it reduces job distress is not mainly about the money," said coauthor Vincent Roscigno. "It is about the relationships, especially with managers."

Looking up a company's financials (usually available as an annual report, whether on a website or internally) isn't the only quick way to scope out a potential workplace. Check and see if the CEO is married — really, there's research on this too.