The happy way to increase productivity

I don’t think in this day and age, that any sensible and forward thinking business leader would dispute the claim that when workers are happier and healthier, they are more productive. But why exactly is this true?

Obviously there’s the science behind how the brain works, but even without going into this, there is plenty of research to show that when people are happy, they have more energy, they are able to concentrate better, think more clearly and work more effectively than when they are stressed or unwell. More importantly, when people are happy and in excellent mental health, they are acting from a position of strength. They feel stronger to ask for what they need, are more able get problems sorted and do their job well.

If you are proactive in helping your workers to improve their resilience and wellbeing then they can be happier and enjoy their job more. It also means that people can deal with disagreements and conflict in a much healthier way, reducing the number of distractions caused by interpersonal problems. Not to mention the fact that when people are happier they are more creative and innovative and likely to come up with new ideas that lead to increased productivity.

A recent study from Warwick University showed that improving the happiness and well-being raises productivity by 12%. However in organisations where the culture is poor there could be room for significantly greater improvement than that. It’s a matter for each organisation to look at their culture and statistics and do some analysis on the potential ROI that improving employee wellbeing could bring. There’s no way that you could put facts and figures on that in a blog. Each individual case is unique.

So if we take it as a given that wellbeing and productivity are linked, then the next question is why don’t employers put more emphasis on it? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of this topic. Please share your views and questions in the comments box.

Saffron Grant specialises in improving business performance by improving employee wellbeing. She provides resilience training, executive coaching and can help you to create the perfect Employee Wellbeing Strategy for your organisation.

Saffron is the author of ‘A Practical Guide to Employee Wellbeing - How to create your strategy’ which can be downloaded for free here. You can sign up to have her new book ’10 Steps to Resilience - A step by step guide anyone can use’ sent to you as soon as it is released in January 2015.

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