Are your employees happy? It shouldn’t be difficult to tell if you take one look around your office. If they’re slumping in their chairs, refusing to talk to each other and conducting non-work-related activities during working hours, there’s a good chance your employees want to be somewhere else.
These kinds of activities should raise red flags because your office’s happiness level directly correlates to how productive your employees are. A study conducted by the University of Warwick in England found that happy workers were roughly 12 percent more productive than ones who weren’t happy.
“Happy workers were roughly 12% more productive than ones who weren’t happy.”
At first glance, this may not seem like a lot, but imagine the type of financial impact even a 12 percent boost in production could have on your organization.
Researchers determined this figure by studying 700 people in four different experiments. They presented participants with either happy situations – watch a comedy movie clip – or gloomy circumstances, such as being questioned about a tragedy in their family.
“Companies like Google have invested more in employee support, and employee satisfaction has risen as a result,” said Oswald. “For Google, it rose by 37 percent, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”
Dr. Proto believes the research is strong evidence that happiness equates to productivity, and therefore it can be used by managers to pour additional resources into creating a more hospitable work environment.
“We have shown that happier subjects are more productive, the same pattern appears in four different experiments,” said Proto. “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.”
If you’re convinced that making your workers happier can improve your company’s bottom line, and we hope you are, here are several unique ideas you can use to increase employee happiness:
1. Think outside of the box
Do you watch Netflix regularly? If you do, you’re probably familiar with all the different programs the streaming service airs. However, what you might not know is the employees who post these shows are likely some of the happiest around. And much of that has to do with the types of benefits Netflix offers, such as lenient working hours. This innovative company grades their employees on the amount of and quality of work they produce rather than the amount of time they spend in the office, according to Business News Daily.
While this policy may not work for every type of office, it’s a unique idea that could help break up the monotony of the workday, as well as allow employees to spend more time with friends and family.
Whether or not you enforce lenient hours, we suggest thinking outside the box and offering more quality-of-life benefits that could make employees happier.
2. Improve workplace relationships
When employers encourage their employees to work together, there’s a good chance they’ll witness an overall happier working environment, as well as an increase in engagement, productivity and efficiency.
“People have a psychological need to feel like they’re a part of a group. People want to feel accepted.”
People have a psychological need to feel like they’re a part of a group, noted the Houston Chronicle. People want to feel accepted because they’re naturally social beings. They weren’t designed millions of years ago to sit in front of a computer all day and work quietly. They were built to interact with others and work together to form strong bonds to help them succeed as an individual and as part of a group.
Employers need to tap into this mindset and make sure they’re promoting collaboration.
However, in order to properly establish a team-first culture, managers must understand how to develop and maintain one. Nicole Williams, a LinkedIn career expert, said workplace relationships are fluid, and because of this, managers must create an environment that meets the requirements of the different generations that exist within it.
“Workplace relationships are ever-changing and an important factor in shaping both office dynamics and individual job development,” explained Williams to Entrepreneur. “This means that creating an office culture that resonates across generations, roles and personalities is a critical factor in building a successful working environment.”
This means a one-size-fits-all approach will absolutely not work. Managers must take time to understand the characteristics of their employees and make changes that resonate with everyone.
3. Regularly reward all employees for their work
If you fail to regularly recognize your employees for their hard work, there’s a good chance your business’s bottom line is suffering (or could) due to low engagement levels and decreased performance. Many companies with an engagement problem can fix it by instituting a formal reward and recognition process for workers. And yes, this includes both part-time and hourly workers as well.
A study conducted by HR.com found that many hourly employees are OK with their companies’ structure and opportunities for professional growth, but they were unhappy with how their employers were recognizing them for their hard work. This lack of recognition may happen for many reasons, but no matter the cause, companies need to take steps to recognize their employees equally.
It begins by understanding how hourly and salaried workers want upper management to recognize them. All employees, according to this study, want their employers to distinguish them for their individual accomplishments. However, salaried employees particularly enjoy receiving prepaid cards over catalog credits or online redemption codes.
If your employees are unhappy, you need to consider making changes to your office environment and your company vision. Doing so could help increase engagement and productivity and ultimately positively impact your enterprise’s bottom line. These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate a new, healthy way of life in your office.
To learn more about the importance of a happy workforce and how to improve your employee’s’ state of mind, consider implementing an employee development effort featuring MasteryTCN’s e-learning courses.