7th May 2019

Yes It’s True: Happy Workers Are Productive Workers

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Happiness is something that we all strive for. It’s not always easy to achieve, especially in the workplace, but research has proven that happy workers are productive workers. And that creating a workforce full of happy people is a worthwhile investment for many other reasons too.

First of all, let’s point out the obvious elephant in the room. You don’t have to be happy to be productive. But while this may be true, it doesn’t mean that working under pressure and stress is the best way to be hitting those deadlines.

In fact, studies have shown that fostering happiness in your workplace not only increases productivity but also means your employees are more engaged, have positive mindsets, are healthier, can save your business money and provide better customer service.

Good, we’ve got your attention! Now, let’s talk about why this is…

Happy workers are productive workers

This was proven through a study around happiness and productivity where people were given ‘happiness shocks’. They were shown funny videos and given snacks and drinks (which made them happy) before completing a measurable task and were found to be 12% more productive, performing at a higher and more accurate level, than another group who received nothing before completing the same task.

The research also discovered that there was a ‘highly significant increase in effort due to the happiness boost.’

Now, this isn’t to say that productivity is about how many free drinks you can give your people. Ask your employees what would make them happier at work, and make a plan from there.

Happy employees mean happy customers

It’s been proven many times that in order to achieve a happy, loyal customer base, you need to start with your employees first. Because it goes without saying that it’s easier to give your best to customers when you’re in a great mood.

One study reported that engaged employees are more likely to improve customer relationships, with the added benefit of a 20% increase in sales in this particular study. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

A happy workplace means higher employee retention rates

A study of a pharmaceutical company concluded that employee retention increased when employees were happy and engaged.

Job vacancies need filling, and this can take time and resources as well as lowering morale, so holding on to your valued workforce is important.

And here’s another quick stat for you, it can take 1-2 years for a new employee to achieve the same level of productivity as their predecessor. So if you’re not already, you should be making a plan for training and rewarding your people.

Happy people are healthier

There’s increasing evidence that having a positive psychological outlook is associated with reduced risk of physical illness.

You can argue that happy people tend to smoke less, drink less, exercise more, and so on. But a scientific study showed that even with the same levels of all of these things, happier people were healthier and may even live longer.

So this is great news when it comes to the workplace: happier staff means healthier staff and less sickness absence. And with 26.8 million working days lost in the UK in 2017/18 due to work-related ill health, this is something we should all be looking at within our own workforces.

Happy people are great at teamwork

One study also stated that optimistic employee behaviour leads to organisational accomplishment. And considering all of the things we’ve already talked about, this shouldn’t be too hard to believe. Positivity is infectious, after all!

It’s so much easier to enjoy working if everyone else around you is enjoying it too. And with a happy team, tasks that may seem daunting at first can become a positive challenge to be overcome.

Of course, it can’t always be plain sailing and there’ll always be tough challenges that present themselves, but creating a culture where your employees are supported and rewarded for overcoming these challenges will make it all the more rewarding for your whole workforce when they do succeed.

So how do you create a happy workforce?

It’s not just about giving your people free beer on a Friday afternoon or their gym membership paid for. These are lovely perks, but the culture that you create in your organisation is the most important factor of all.

Our team of workplace consultants can help you find what it is that makes your people happy and advise you on how to implement these things across your business.

Whether it’s through providing wellbeing initiatives, ensuring your people feel they can get support from colleagues, or the environment you give them to work in, taking the time to identify how you can make your organisation a better place to work is paramount.

Here are a few ideas from Henry Stewart’s Happy Manifesto to get you started:

  • Trust your people
  • Allow freedom with guidelines
  • Be open and transparent
  • Recruit for attitude rather than skill
  • Celebrate mistakes
  • Create mutual benefit
  • Prioritise balance

Rachel Biddles

Operations Director