Most people would agree that the pursuit of happiness is a worthwhile endeavor and that positive emotions make life easier and more manageable. Yet when it comes to the business world, many owners and managers tend to ignore employee emotions and morale, believing that a serious “nose to the grindstone” attitude is the preferred approach to maximizing productivity. However, there is a growing body of research that points to a positive correlation between workplace happiness and productivity.
In a recent study Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Proto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick conducted a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. Results indicated that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. The research team concluded that “…human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity.”
Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has found that when individuals are feeling positive, they tend to be more creative and better at solving problems. Additional research has also shown that when workers are happy, they’re more effective collaborators. Anchor believes the implications for organizations are clear – happy employees who are creative and collaborative problem solvers are more likely to generate better results and higher profits.
In a recent online article John Rampton, founder of online invoicing company Due, cites studies indicating that happier employees are more sociable, more energetic and healthier, and take fewer sick days than unhappy employees. These studies demonstrate that employee morale impacts productivity and the bottom line. Rampton suggests that senior leadership and managers can raise the happiness quotient of their employees in a number of ways, including:
- Recognizing that becoming a better manager, leading by example, communicating more effectively and collaborating with your team can make everyone feel happier and more engaged;
- Getting to know your employees better can help you understand how to boost employee satisfaction and motivation;
- Promoting a positive culture by encouraging employee teamwork and collaboration;
- Recognizing, rewarding and appreciating employees for achievements and milestones, from actual awards and gifts to a simple acknowledgement and thanks;
- Designing work spaces for maximum comfort and productivity using lighting, color and furnishings;
- Providing perks such as gym memberships, healthy snacks, quiet spaces for work breaks and the option to work from home occasionally.
Business leaders can boost employee satisfaction and productivity by creating and promoting a company culture that values a positive work environment and gives employees the opportunity to feel connected and appreciated.