The Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy conducted a 700-person experiment in Britain to determine the role that happiness played in workplace productivity. Choosing participants at random and giving them snacks or showing them a comedy clip, researchers asked a series of questions to confirm feelings and asked the subjects to perform different tasks.
The results of the experiment show a rise of about 12-20% in productivity on average. Compare that to the average yearly growth of the GDP, 3%, and the inflation is staggering. Researchers also found that unhappiness is linked with decreased productivity that could have a lasting effect of up to two years.
The importance of this information you ask? Well, good question. The purpose of this study was to understand how real-life situations, such as happiness or trauma, affect workplace productivity. The author of the report, Dr. Daniel Sgroi, concluded, “Having scientific support for generating happiness-productivity cycles within the workforce should… help managers to justify work-practices aimed at boosting happiness on productivity grounds.
While employers may not be able to control what happens outside of the workplace, there are ways managers can encourage and build happiness within and among their team.
Communication. Why do people vent? Because it makes them feel good. As the issues come out and they hear them out loud, people are more capable of assessing their problems and determining a way to turn it around. In that same sense, employees should talk to their employees about more than the assigned due date or project. Ask your employees about home and how they feel in the workplace. Once an issue has been identified, both the employer and the employee can work to find a solution. However, nine times out of ten, just being heard is enough.
Hire Happy. While it does help to complete an interview while happy, this advice is aimed at the potential employee rather than the employer. Statistics show that some people are happier than others, so keep in mind while interviewing an individual. While no one is going to say they are an unhappy grinch necessarily, employers can ask questions aimed at producing a reaction.
Relationships. The previously established communication between employer and employee should help to build that relationship. However, for workplace happiness to prevail, employees must also have good relationships with others in the company. Harvard Business Review states that “close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.”