Never underestimate the power of happiness.
Certainly, as an employer, it is the greatest gift that you can give to your workers, but it’s a gift that comes back around. How? Because happy workers are the very best kind of workers that you can have, because it boosts productivity. Here’s why.
This is a simple concept, and makes perfect sense when you think about it. Happy people want to do things. Now, there are others who can be quietly content, which is not quite the same, because happy people seek out tasks to complete. As an employer, there is barely a more valuable commodity.
Happiness affects health
In terms of productivity, nothing has a bigger impact than sickness. The number of days off an employee tasks directly links to their productivity, so obviously you want to see the number of sick days limited, if at all possible.
Now, just because you are happy, it doesn’t mean you can’t catch a cold or the flu. However, it does mean that you are less likely to take days off for other reasons, such as not being able to mentally face a day at work. Depression is a disease and so we cannot compare it directly with happiness, but certainly unhappy employees, ie, those who are not clinically depressed but are also not in a happy place in their lives, take more time off. This is a fact backed up by research. The result is a loss of productivity for the employer.
But don’t only think about the number of days off. Think about performance when that employee is actually in work. Who is more likely to be energetic, on time, responsive and hungry for tasks because they feel physically and mentally good? Of course, it is the happy employee. The correlation with motivation here is obvious.
Happiness boosts the ability to work with others
Social connectivity, depending on the type of job, is a huge factor contributing to productivity: the ability to work effectively as part of a team, in collaboration with others, will impact greatly on the quality and quantity of output delivered by an employee. And this is once again where happiness is an important ingredient.
Happiness is a chemical release inside our bodies that leads us to seek out others and improves our ability to connect with them. Happiness is also infectious, so it rubs off on others. One happy employee will very soon lead to more, so if you have someone like this right in the middle of a team, you can watch the happy vibes spread out like ripples on a pond. The result will be seen in the output of that team.
It’s not just with internal teams that these benefits will be felt. Think about the impact if that individual is client-facing. Quite simply, people enjoy doing business with happy people, so it will affect the way clients respond to your business. This directly impacts the bottom line, so is once again where happiness is proven to boost productivity.
Happiness boosts creativity, independence and decision-making
Happiness impacts a little more indirectly on productivity in the way that it stimulates some key abilities and attitudes that are essential components of a productive worker.
Firstly, happiness breeds creativity because, with no reason to be focused on any negative issues, the mind is clear to tackle the task at hand with a fresh perspective. This will not only manifest in overtly creative professions such as design, but also is customer-facing roles where solutions are needed quickly.
Happiness also leads to employees taking responsibility for their own work, meaning they are less likely to need micro-managing. As a boss, that therefore frees up your own capacity to deal with other tasks. Conversely, unhappy employees may need their hands held more tightly, which has the opposite effect. Independence, when harnessed correctly, of course, will positively impact upon productivity.
And then there is the key concept of decision-making. As individuals we make any number of decisions every single day, ranging from tiny ones, such as what shirt we will wear, to many bigger ones related to our work activities. Once again, happiness promotes clarity of thought, allowing us to make better decisions.
Unclouded by other issues, we are free to evaluate all of the evidence at hand and to make the best choice based on what is presented to us. From a business perspective, good decision-making on behalf of employees can have more than a marginal effect of productivity and the health of the organization.
Happiness is infectious, and breeds optimism
We have already touched upon this point, but happiness is something that spreads and touches others. Of course, if employees have things going on in their lives, having a happy colleague alongside them is not going to cure all evils, but certainly it motivates if the conditions are right.
The concept of optimism is vitally important. That glass-half-full mentality can do wonders for a business, because a ‘can do’ attitude can elevate a company beyond its competitors. It is something to be embraced, and staff who possess that quality should be held on to tightly.
Happiness at the heart of your business can really lift productivity to new heights. Beyond that, a positive workplace culture with happy employees also assists greatly in such things as recruitment and retention.
As an employer, it is also important to understand that money is far from the only consideration in terms of contributing to employee happiness, and is not even the most important contributing factor. Opportunity, support and a positive organizational culture all contribute much more directly to the happiness of your employees, so if that is the culture you want to promote, look at the rewards systems you have in place by all means, but think more clearly in terms of what you can do to further the careers of your employees, and make your workplace a positive place to be every single day. Management has a key role to play.
Victoria Munson is a business reporter at Lucky Assignments. She is always up to date with current events and enjoys writing about them, helping audiences understand the news by analyzing and interpreting the information. Victoria is also very passionate about digital marketing and technology trends.