Happiness breeds productivity
A new study has confirmed what many business leaders and managers already know: Happy workers are more productive than unhappy ones.
Researchers at the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick recently studied more than 700 people to determine how happiness effects productivity.
Each participant in the experiment was required to complete a simple standardised task. However, the researchers used specialised tactics to either raise or lower certain participants' happiness as necessary.
For example, one group was offered free chocolate and snacks prior to the experiment, while another was shown comedy film clips.
The results clearly showed that happiness results in a productivity boost of 12 per cent, on average – a significant increase in what is considered a key performance metric for many workers.
Another experiment involved participants being asked to complete a set task, before filling out a short questionnaire on "recent tragedies in their families' lives". The results showed that individuals who reported tragedies had significantly lower productivity rates than those who did not.
"This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organisations, they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce," said Professor Andrew Oswald, one of the experts behind the study.
Professor Oswald has pointed to companies such as Google as examples of real-world organisations that have improved productivity by investing in ensuring the satisfaction and well-being of employees.
"For Google, [productivity] rose by 37 per cent, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off," said Professor Oswald.
This study will be of interest to recruitment agencies and employers alike, as it clearly demonstrates how investing in a happy and engaged workforce can deliver dividends in terms of productivity.