Dec 1, 2014

Work Needs to be Fun - Happy people are more Effective

We spend every week around half of our time awake at work or travelling to work. Already from that perspective work needs to be something you are happy on doing. At least in my thinking being happy every day is something I wish from life.

That's still not all. There's research backing up the facts that happier people are more productive at work. Study from University of Warwick showed that happy people are 12 percent more productive than others.  That's of course just one study, but there's more data for similar results. In Gallup's State of the Global Workplace study (over 200 000 respondents) they found that companies which had engaged employees had significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings.

Even though I believe we need lot of other studies on the subject to be really sure about how the causation goes, there is definitely something in happiness at work place. Happiness at work place also might have a positive effect on company image and that way make it easier to recruit new talented people. On top of the previous one's there's also evidence that happiness has a strong effect on intrinsic motivation. And intrinsic motivation affects productivity.

My purpose wasn't in going to the academic discussion about what is proven and what is not. From personal experience, from my own workplaces and places I've seen as a consultant, this correlation is true. The happier people are, the better results the company will get.

In the State of the Global Workplace study, the engagement level in companies was surprisingly low. Overall in the world in average only 13% of the people were engaged to their jobs and 24% were actively disengaged. That's quite huge. Almost two times more people are disengaged than engaged.

In my interests there's of course the numbers of Finland. Here the numbers where 11% engaged and 14% disengaged. We were almost the worst in Western Europe, only France and Netherlands behind us. Maybe it tells a bit about our overall nature of being unhappy about almost everything, but still it's really worrying and we should do something about it.

I unfortunately don't have a list of "5 things that will improve your work place happiness" in my mind. There are lot of good articles about the subject existing and I recommend to read some of those to get the ideas. What I think is important is first to approve the fact that this actually matters. Happiness and engagement are important in productivity of the company. I believe these are not something that HR can do (at least not most of it), but this is something that operational leaders and other key people in organizations need to take under their radar.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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