Education

Happiness can make employees 12% more productive: study

Updated: 2014-03-24
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Google famously offers its employees everything from laundry facilities to volleyball courts - and even naps pods and a slide.
Researchers today said the firm may actually have the right idea - and that happy employees really do work harder. 
 
In a series of lab tests, they found happiness made people around 12% more productive. 
 

Google even provides a slide for staff to make them happier at work - and a new study claims it could help boost productivity
   
The researchers claim the study is the first causal evidence using randomized trials and piece-rate working that shows happiness does matter. 
 
The study, to be published in the Journal of Labor Economics, included four different experiments with more than 700 participants. 
 
During the experiments a number of the participants were either shown a comedy movie clip or treated to free chocolate, drinks and fruit.
 
Others were questioned about recent family tragedies, such as bereavements, to assess whether lower levels of happiness were later associated with lower levels of productivity. 
 
'The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality,' said Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, one of the leaders of the research.
 
'Some firms say they care about the well-being and ‘happiness’ of their employees. But are such claims hype, or scientific good sense? We provide evidence that happiness makes people more productive,' the team wrote. 
 
Dr Eugenio Proto said: 'We have shown that happier subjects are more productive, the same pattern appears in four different experiments.

'This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations, they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.' 
 
The researchers say that Google was at the forefront of improving its employee's happiness with its well known perks, which include free food, buses and gyms, along withe sports courts and even a slide to get between floors.

Professor Andrew Oswald said: 'Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result.

'For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.' 
 
 
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Happiness can make employees 12% more productive: study
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