You've probably heard the adage that a happy worker is a productive worker, and though it seems clichéd, there is science to back it up—last year, a group of researchers found that happier people are as much as 12% more productive than their counterparts. Putting this into practice in a business, however, is much more challenging. What does workplace happiness mean? And how can employers help foster it to increase productivity?
The results of the recent Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index identify the things happy employees have in common and suggest areas where businesses can boost workplace happiness. The survey clearly shows businesses have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to work life balance and worker productivity, but here are a few of the areas that caught our attention.
- It's not all about the hours. It might be a surprise to learn that happy employees, on the whole, didn't work less than their unhappy counterparts. They might even feel the same work burnout and stress at work as their counterparts—but they're still happy. That could be because…
- Workplace flexibility can contribute to employee satisfaction. Larger numbers of happy workers have schedules that allow for telecommuting and flex-time, giving them the ability to work on their own terms and in their own time. As technology has advanced, more companies are taking advantage of the benefits of telecommuting—and it's showing in their employees' job satisfaction and productivity. And speaking of technology…
- The tools of the trade make a difference. Happy workers are more likely to have employers who provide them with quality devices, tools and technology to do their job. Considering email overload and insufficient technology were cited as big contributors to employee burnout, that shouldn't come as a surprise. Struggling with outdated or unreliable technology creates frustration, hinders productivity, and chips away at employee morale.
- Your employees want you to be socially responsible. It's been found that three-quarters of employees think they should be more involved in their company's sustainability efforts, and it seems there's a strong connection to employee happiness, too: 74% of happy workers say their company adheres to eco-conscious policies.
There's a lot more to the survey than these few things, but employers need to start somewhere as they work to attract and retain top talent. Considering workplace flexibility, investing in the tools your employees need, and providing options for workers to give back to the community are all strong, positive and easy ways to increase workplace happiness and reduce employee burnout. With one in five workers planning to find a new job in the next year, can you afford not to?