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I'm James Wallman — author, entrepreneur, futurist. Welcome to The Future Is Here. We provide sensible, robust, useful strategic advice to people like you.

Study: happy people are more productive

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A seven-year study from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business discovered that, compared to unhappy employees, happy employees work harder, have fewer days off, go the extra mile when performing a task, stick at a job and attract like-minded people to their cause. 

The report notes that employees are happier when they work in a positive work environment. What's that exactly? It's a workplace where work colleagues: 

  • Care for, are interested in, and treat colleagues as friends
  • Support each other, like being kindness and compassionate when others are struggling
  • Avoid blame and forgive mistakes.
  • Inspire one another at work.
  • Emphasize the meaningfulness of the work.
  • Treat one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity.

The report says there are three reasons why acting this way matters. 

  1. It increases positive emotions (read: happiness), relationships, and creativity.
  2. It builds resilience, so each individual, and teams, scan better cope with stress.
  3. Its makes employees more loyal, and brings out the best in them. 

For more, read this article on the Harvard Business Review, called Positive Teams Are More Productive and this article on Australian business website In the Black called "Why A Happy Workplace is Essential for your Bottom Line".

This sort of research will enhance the role of HR (human resource) departments. In the future, employers will compete to attract the best ever less through the standard of living the salary provides, and ever more through the quality of life they offer—at the office and in general. 

With research like this, no wonder there's a wave of consultancies offering their expertise to help corporations create happier workplaces. Examples include: Andy Gibson's Mindapples and Nic Marks' Happiness Works in London, as well as The Happiness Institute in Sydney. Also, look out for Andy Gibson's new book, A Mind for Business.

 

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