Are happy employees more productive?


4 smiling people

For this year’s International Week of Happiness at Work (19th September – 25th September 2022), we explore how prioritising a positive work environment, wellbeing and happiness can boost productivity.  

When looking to boost the overall productivity levels of your business, it can be easy to become fixated on the latest technology, tool, robot, or app that promises to streamline your business. 

The scale on which the world relies on these gadgets to boost business’s bottom line has become evident in this post-pandemic era. By the end of 2022, revenue created by productivity software is expected to reach more than $71bn.  

While these technologies most certainly can support businesses with their goal of improving productivity, there are other – more organic – avenues for owners to consider at the same time. 

If you can feel, or even see, that productivity amongst your team is flagging, one area of improvement that is overlooked is your employees’ happiness.  

Are happiness and productivity synonymous? 

Extensive studies have been done which show that there is a link between happiness and productivity in the workplace. One research project by Oxford University and BT reported a 13 per cent increase in productivity when workers are happy. Similar results were found by the University of Warwick, with productivity increasing by 12 per cent for those employees who felt happy at work.  

With such strong evidence that suggests that to be productive is to find happiness – and vice versa – those employers looking to boost productivity would be best placed to start by exploring how they can make their offices happier places to be.  

Here are a few ideas to get you started… 

Start with the small things 

From fruit in the office to unlimited tea and coffee and free access to work necessities, like stationery, happiness doesn’t have to derive from grand gestures. In fact, it’s those smaller actions that can make all the difference to someone’s day. 

Remote and/or flexible working options 

It’s no secret that the ‘new normal’ of work has seen employees request flexible working more than ever before. The ability to fit work around life, either through remote working or flexible hours, is a key benefit that workers need from their employers with happiness and better health as key drivers. Research shows that those employees who have good work life balance are 40 per cent less likely to experience mental health issues.  

Training and upskilling  

Job satisfaction is intrinsically linked to happiness in the workplace, and one asset that employees are asking for from their employers to make their professional lives happier is to be professionally valued and feel that they have a sense of purpose at work.  

Individuals want to know that their career is placed front and centre of their employer’s priorities through regular training sessions and opportunities to upskill. Indeed, according to research from LinkedIn, 94 per cent of employees said that they were more likely to stay with a company that invests in their growth.   

Workplace socials  

Whether it’s drinks after work or a team building day out, workplace social events can be a great way to boost team morale, nurture professional relationships and cultivate trust.  

Perks that go further than the workplace 

Thankfully, there is now a far more open and honest culture around traditionally taboo subjects such as health, mental health, and money. Because of this, there is a greater understanding from employers that the perks and benefits they offer need to go further than simply professional support. 

To feel truly content at work, an employee needs to be able to feel that they can bring their whole selves to work without fear of repercussion, which includes seeking support, or feeling supported, for more personal problems. For example, by ensuring benefits like paid self-care days, subsidised medical insurance, or financial advice it is far more likely that you’ll have a happier, healthier team.  

Of course, the things that bring us happiness (and in turn, makes us more productive) whether personally or professionally, are as unique to each of us as our fingerprints. When deciding what perks, benefits, and activities to add to your business’s roster, ensure that you speak with your team about what they would want to access. If you have a large team, sending around a survey can be a great way to gather consensus.  

Want to know more about how to improve productivity in the workplace? Take a look at the productivity page on our website here. 

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