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How workplace happiness can boost productivity

How workplace happiness can boost productivity

The pursuit of true happiness has become an important issue for psychologists, economists, and sometimes, politicians. Far from assuming that happiness is a personal matter, executives and employers too are directing their attention to happiness as a workplace issue and management strategy.

According to Richard Reeves, author of Happy Mondays: Putting the Pleasure Back Into Work,  Ed Denier, author of Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, and Sonja Lybomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, long-term happiness and life satisfaction is measured by economists and psychologists, and should no longer be seen as an abstract concept. John Helliwell, Professor Emeritus and an economist from The University of British Columbia presented research on happiness and well-being, based on surveys of more than 100,000 people in Canada and around the world. Among his findings, which have significant implications for the workplace, is that a slight positive increase in a worker's relationship with the boss may translate into a substantial increase in compensation or productivity.

The Apprentice TV show hosted by Donald Trump is a prime example of how the media portrays workplace culture and the behavior of those in it, emphasizing that business is a tough game to play and getting ahead requires putting your interests above others and capitalizing on the misfortune of fellow workers.

Shows like The Apprentice, intimate that good guys finish last and that being happy and having positive relationships don't matter. This view is contrary to numerous psychological studies of the workplace that found personal feelings toward an individual are more significant in the formation of productive collective work than is a person's competence.

Why should we be concerned about whether people are happy at work? Aren't there more important issues such as sales, marketing, finance and operations? The truth is all of these issues are better met by employees who are happy and who enjoy their work. The business case for happiness in the workplace is simple and based on solid evidence.

Psychologist Martin Seligman, in his book, Authentic Happiness, cites his research on positive emotions among 272 employees during a study of their job performance for 18 months. He concluded hat happier people got better performance evaluations and high pay. Along these lines, a large study of Australian youths, conducted over 15 years, concluded that happiness made gainful employment and higher income more likely. D. G. Myers, in The Pursuit of Happiness, says that compared to employees who are depressed or unhappy, happy employees have lower medical costs, work fmroe efficiently and have less absenteeism.

J.M. George in his research article published in Human Relations, and P. Totterdell and his colleagues, in their article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, claim that a negative mood moves people into an entirely different way of thinking and acting. When people are feeling negative they become critics of each other, and this engenders a warrior mode of thinking, and win-lose approach to problems. Negative people concentrate on what is wrong and attempt to correct it. Conversely, a positive mood stimulates people to be creative, tolerant, constructive, generous and non-defensive. The focus is not on what is wrong, but on what is right.

Other research studies show that happiness can undo some of the adverse physiological effects of negative emotions. Seligman points out that happier people are more altruistic than their unhappy counterparts, being more likely to give not just their money, but also their time and energy.

With companies struggling to survive in a competitive economy, and engaged in a war for talent, the problems of recruitment, retention and employee engagement of productive employees are critical. no less critical is the recognition that a happy workplace can have a significant impact on business results and success.



Pursuit of Joy versus Pursuit of Happiness

'Happy,I want to be happy, I want to meet someone to make me happy, I want to feel happy and not so sad all the time, if I could just be happy then I would feel better!' And on and on it goes, human beings are either seeking it, wishing they had it, planning to have,it and or envying someone for having it! What is happiness? Is it when all the stars in the heavens are in alignment? Is it when all the family is getting along and no one is feeling out of sorts? What does it look like, what does it feel like? What will I do with it if and when I find it?

Happiness is not the problem, believing that we are entitled to have and experience it often and daily and when we desire it, is the problem! Thinking that it is tangible and what we truly need is the problem!! Happiness is fleeting because all things relating to human life is fleeting and we cannot keep it because it is not meant to be kept; it is meant to be enjoyed and used when we have it, not possessed, used! Happiness is dependent on whether or not 'I feel good,' or 'I love you,' or 'it's raining and I don't know when the sun will come out.' As long as Happines is dependent on something else before it can occur, it will always be elusive and at best temporal!

Joy, is what we need to admit resides within us and once that admission is made, it is to be nurtured and honed so that we are not constantly in pursuit of 'it.' Joy exists in the erupted coal mines of our lives, joy sits in the fox holes that are surrounded by lifeless bodies that offer no tomorrow. Joy rises above the sadness and terror of daily lives that have been told at birth that they will never be anything more than their parents and grandparents were! Joy occurs without our participation in an act! Joy comes at us even when pain and loss join together to rid us of a smile! Joy is Hope that springs eternal and will not be denied no matter what the circumstances appear to be. Joy comes in little things that will never become big things, Joy whispers that though money is needed, peace is far more appreciable! Joy makes you weather the storm even when you do not have a raincoat! Joy lifts up its wings as Eagles do despite babies that die in the womb! Joy promises that tomorrow is possible and that we can hope again despite what horrors occured today or even yesterday.

It is Joy that we must use, it is Joy that lives within the divides of our soul and heart and we must seek guidance to use it for all its worth! Happiness is manmade out of a desire to avoid reality, Joy was stitched within the contours of the human life before the foundations of the earth and once we gain vision, we'll be able to use it and our pursuit of happines will no longer be of import for Joy trumps happiness with little effort and repairs the damage that we so often do to our souls in pursuit of 'it.'

Workplace Happiness Makes a Huge Difference to the Company and Employee


Great article. The research showing what workplace Happiness does is amazing. ruHap, The Happiness Company recently issued a press release showing the major findings. A portion is below:

24 Reasons to Be Happier: Achieving Success and Happiness both Personally and at Work

Since 1998 when Positive Psychology (the study of Happiness) became a formal body of science, the research efforts have been extensive - and the findings overwhelming. Happiness is often the one factor determining success or failure at home and work.

ruHap, The Happiness Company has completed a review of the Positive Psychology academic research since 1998, and the cumulative findings are nothing short of breathtaking.

In the workplace, Happier employees:

* Work at Firms with Higher Profits and Revenue
* Are almost 50% More Productive
* Produce a Higher Quality Of Work
* Are More Creative
* Feel 50% More Motivated
* Produce Customers with Higher Satisfaction Levels
* Consider More Potential Alternatives before Implementing a Solution
* Have Superior Employee Performance Evaluations
* Intend to Stay more than Twice as Long at their Present Firm (even before the recession)
* Take One Third the Sick Leave
* Experience More then Two and Half Times the Happiness in their Career
* Find their Work almost Twice as Engaging

The full text of the release can be found at http://ruhap.com/content/newsroom/releases/24-reasons-to-be-happier-achi...

Thanks, and Be Happy,

Gregory S. Barsh, Esq.
Chief Happiness Officer
ruHap, The Happiness Company
Follow our blog, How to be Happier, at http://ruhap.com/content/category/blog/

Happiness at work

I am amazed at the studies being undertaken to prove what I feel is a given: of course happy people are more productive!

Do we REALLY need studies to prove this??

Having said that, I'm really glad your blog officially reinforces the opinion I have been espousing for years.

Live Life Happy!


Such a joyful post! It was a kind of treat to read this post . The line which touched me is - 'Joy makes you weather the storm even when you do not have a raincoat!' Will remember the message you've send across so beautifully.
The 5 Factor Personality Test
Personality as per the 5 most telling factors.

Workplace Productivity

Great post! Been reading a lot about workplace productivity. Thanks for the info here!

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Ray Williams is the author of Breaking Bad Habits and The Leadership Edge.


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