Apparently, it doesn’t take organizations much to reap the huge emotional benefits of higher productivity. All it takes is a happy workplace designed to further employees’ happiness.
Remember the movie The Office where David Brent, played by actor Ricky Gervais, wanted to be remembered as ‘the man who put a smile on the face of all who he met’? That’s exactly what successful organizations around the world have now realized – that putting a smile on their workers’ face is the key to turn a profit, keep customers engaged, and build a sustainable bottom-line. Naomi Simson, founder of RedBalloon and author of Live What You Love says ‘being happy’ is the greatest productivity hack that works for her as productivity stems from the headspace she’s in.
The best of productivity hacks can go in vain, if you don’t have the mental makeup to apply them
No matter how many accurate to-do lists you make, chores you delegate, tools and technologies you download to sort your work, and more, if you are not happy at work, that uptick in productivity isn’t likely to come. On the other hand, happy workers are:
- 20% more productive than unhappy ones who are 10% less productive
- 40% more likely to be promoted (who doesn’t want more happiness around?)
- 10% more engaged at work
- Empowered to generate 37% higher sales than unhappy workers
- 59% less likely to leave their job within 12 months
Decoding what ‘happy at work’ really means
Contrary to popular belief, employee happiness is not the same as engagement. There’s a difference between ‘engaged employees’ and ‘happy employees’. Happiness stems from a feeling of being valued for who you are, the impact you make with your work and presence, and the fulfilment it gives you. Happy employees are cognitively absorbed, effectively involved, and more inclined towards constructive collaboration.
So what is it that employees need from their organizations in order to be happy at work? These five things are critical:
#1 Work that challenges employees to be at their productive best: Good employees love a challenge (it must be do-able though) and derive their happiness from beating it. Organizational leaders must be able to identify employees’ potentials to be able to give them work that keeps them productively occupied, motivated, and consequently, happy.
#2 Freedom from fear: Fear is counterproductive – it stifles innovation, collaboration, and creativity. While certain big consequences such as ‘not submitting a project by its deadline’ or ‘disappointing a prestigious client’ must be feared, employees must not fear voicing their opinions and ideas at the workplace.
#3 Sense of accomplishment: Have you ever wondered how your happiest days at work are when you have accomplished a goal or a target? It’s the sense of accomplishment and progress that contributes to happiness and fulfilment. Seeing real results makes one feel ‘what I do matters’ paving the way for higher productivity and engagement.
#4 Sense of belonging: Humans have an innate desire to belong – to a place, person or culture. When they are able to get that feeling at work, whether it is through a positive workplace culture, good colleagues, or a great leader, it channelizes their productivity and creative juices.
#5 Flexibility and control: Millennials treat freedom to control their place and pace of work as integral to their happiness. Organizations that offer flexi-hours, remote work, telecommute, and other flexible options typically have happier and more engaged, loyal workers.
Free meals, paid leave, and higher compensation are starting to move down on the ‘what makes employees happy’ scale. Organizations must get innovative to ace their happiness index, for that’s what drives a cascade of business benefits.