Human Resources

Happy employees are more productive, research shows

Health Industry Hub | November 18, 2019 |
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A team at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has produced evidence that demonstrates ‘happier employees do a better job’.

The study showed that happy employees not only worked faster, making more calls per hour, but also achieved 13% higher sales than their unhappy colleagues. Interestingly, the happy staff did not put in more hours than their unhappy colleagues to achieve their superior results. They just used their time more productively.

  1. Feelings of happiness have been shown to increase intrinsic motivation. This effect could be particularly important in more routine work settings, or in the absence of strong enough financial incentives to do good work.
  2. Better mood states may improve cognitive functioning and workers’ abilities to remain focused on their daily tasks. Subjects induced into positive mood states have shown to become better at cognitively processing information and better at creative problem solving tasks.
  3. Happiness could also augment (non-cognitive) social or emotional skills. One may think of happiness as an aid to social skills, allowing workers to better negotiate with customers and find appropriate solutions for them.

Previous studies have shown that paid work ranks quite low in most people’s idea of happiness and employers generally need to make a bigger effort to ensure employees are content in their jobs, according to Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, one of the authors of the Saïd Business School report.

“There seems to be considerable room for improvement in the happiness of employees while they are at work,” he has noted. “While this is clearly in the interest of workers themselves, our analysis suggests it is also in the interests of their employers.”

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