Why you should care
Because it’s just a win-win-win — they’re happy, business booms…what’s not to love?
Marie Antoinette might have been on to something. Want more productive workers? Give them chocolate, a new study says.
Happy employees, researchers from the University of Warwick found, are
12 percent more productive.
Their findings involve more than 700 participants, across four experiments. In two, workers viewed comedy clips. In one, they were asked about recent tragedies in their lives and, while those questions loomed in their minds, given tasks to complete, ostensibly after their happiness had ebbed. Others received food, drinks and, yes, chocolate.
The subjects then took a standardized productivity test.
And, as the top of this story suggests, people who had laughed instead of thought about crying, who had enjoyed a treat, who were, in a word, happier, performed better on tasks. The authors caution that this wasn’t a true cost-benefit ration test. Still, they found the results encouraging.
Supporting our people must begin at the most fundamental level — their physical and mental health and well-being.
Matthew Thomas, manager, employee relations, Ernst & Young
“Economists and other social scientists may need to pay more attention to emotional well-being as a causal force,” the authors write.
They suggest paying attention to promotion processes, to HR practices and, yes, to food. Because a little investment in happiness could boost your bottom line.
They offer tips based on their survey of more than 3,000 workers:But it’s not just about food or Dave Chappelle. At George Mason University, researchers found that the level of “companionate” happiness at work boosts productivity too. This is the chitchat with your co-workers, the bonding over shared experiences (or a beer), the feeling of connectedness over a common goal, putting your co-workers’ needs above your own — all of that boosts those cubicle warm fuzzies.
• Hire positive people.
• In interviews, ask questions about how they would handle situations, to see if they do so with compassion.
• Model the positive behavior you want to see in your workplace.
Tech firms especially have a reputation for free lunches and other perks — and they appear to have it right. Not every office may need a foosball table, Silicon Valley style. But a nice muffin basket on occasion could reap some serious results. Maybe Michael Scott had it right, after all.