Why happiness (at work)?

Are we supposed to be happy at work? Aren’t we just paid to get things done? In this lesson we will learn why investing in happiness at work makes solid business sense.


Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Productivity: Happy employees are productive employees. As per a study by researchers at the University of Warwick, happy people were approximately 12 % more productive than their counterparts. On the other hand, lower happiness was systematically associated with lower productivity (to the tune of unhappy workers being 10 % less productive)
  • Engagement: Surveys by Gallup and other agencies, consistently show that only about 13-30 %of employees are actively engaged while about the same number are actively disengaged. Disengaged employees are likely to be unhappy and create negativity in the workplace, while happier employees are much more likely to be committed to their organizations and go the extra mile. And engaging employees leads to all sorts of positive outcomes like higher customer ratings, increased sales, reduced turnover, lower safety incidents etc.
  • Shareholder value: According to a report by Glassdoor Research, they found a significant positive relation between employee satisfaction and stock market performance of publicly held companies. Smart investors are now monitoring the happiness of employees as a metric of concern and taking that into account while making investment decisions.
  • Health benefits:Happy people live longer, are physically healthier, have stronger immune system and easily rebound from setbacks and are less susceptible to many chronic diseases. This translates into less sick leaves/ absenteeism  or burden on the company due to to illness and corresponding lowering of associated health costs.
  • Creativity and Innovation:Research by Isen, has shown that happier people are more creative. According to Broaden-and-build theory of Barbara Fredrickson, Happiness broadens our attention span thus making it more likely for us to connect disparate ideas and coming up with something novel. With the premium that companies nowadays place on creativity and innovation, prioritizing happiness makes good sense.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration is another skill that is prized in today’s workplace and ample research exists to show that happy individuals collaborate more effectively and are better team players.

We typically think that we will be happy once we achieve that career goal; however it has been shown time and again that success does not lead to happiness always, but happiness always leads to success. We have got the equation wrong for all this time. Now that we do understand the benefits of workplace happiness, we will look in the next lesson for small tips and techniques to become happier @ work.

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