Smile, You’re More Productive When You’re Happy! | Why Happy People Are More Productive

When’s the last time you were really happy? Did you have a night full of laughs, wine, sweatpants and Netflix with the girls? Did you jet off to the Caribbean for vacation? Did you get a new puppy? Or maybe flowers from your special someone?

No matter the reason for your smile, you might have noticed that your good mood transcended your personal life. You weren’t mistaken: a 2015 study by the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12 percent increase in participants’ productivity.

It’s more than just a smile and a chipper attitude, though. Here’s what researchers found through the 700-person study.

Employers Can Play a Huge Role

There were a few happiness-inducing scenarios at the start of this post, but you can certainly make your own smiles happen. And usually for a lot less than a trip to an exotic island or a new puppy.

In the University of Warwick study, researchers provided participants with what they thought would boost their mood: They either showed funny movie clips or treated subjects to a piece of chocolate, fruit or a drink.

Researchers then went through a few questions to make sure participants’ moods were, indeed, improved. After that, subjects completed a series of tasks to test their productivity — and they did finish their assignments with a bit more gusto than other participants.

The rest of the test groups were either asked to talk about sad life events prior to completing tasks, thus lowering their moods, or given tests without any mood manipulation.

For many employers, the takeaway from the study was that they needed to be more hands-on in providing employees with experiences to increase their happiness at work.

Places like Google already do it well: It’s gone so far as to optimize the lunch line at its office so employees only have to wait three to four minutes for their food. Talk about a nice perk!

Unhappy People Bring the Whole Operation Down

If employers need more incentive to make their staff smile, they should also look at what an unhappy and disengaged workforce can do to their businesses.

A disengaged employee is 18 percent less productive, 16 percent less profitable to the company and experiences 37 percent less job growth.

Aside from productivity, a disengaged employee is also 37 percent more likely to call off, 49 percent more likely to cause an accident and 60 percent more likely to have errors or cause defects.

If a company makes its employees happy, it will build a reputation for being a good employer with an engaged staff and 100 percent more job applications will flow in, according to the Harvard Business Review.

You Can Still Do Your Bit, Too

One of the best ways to ensure your own happiness at work? Love what you do. It’s really that simple: You will be ephemerally happy about the perks you get from your job, whether you receive employee discounts, extra vacation days or free lunch. If you don’t love the job you’re doing, your productivity will suffer over time because you’re not mentally in it.

You can also strive to improve your workplace habits to help yourself de-stress on the job. De-stressing can also be a boon to productivity. Simply treating yourself well by getting a full night’s rest, eating healthily and drinking no more than the necessary amount of caffeine can be the difference between a happy and productive day and an unproductive day.

On top of that, you can do little things throughout the day to ensure you stay on top of your productivity game.

For example, taking occasional breaks from your work helps you power through and get more done by the end of the day. You can take a quick walk, grab a hot beverage or chit-chat with a coworker with whom you’re overdue to catch up.

Even something as simple as redecorating your desk can have you feeling peppier and more excited about getting to work.

How will you make your employees happier, and how will you boost your personal productivity in the workplace? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all the tips, tricks and advice to help you navigate the modern world of work.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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