WNA Blog

Thu 19 Jan 2017

Workplace Wellness: Why Happy Workers Are Productive workers

Business Consulting & Coaching

All employers want to make their workplace more productive, although for many it can be hard to determine what they can do, easily, to promote productivity. As it turns out, making sure your employees are happy goes hand in hand with solving this problem, as studies have shown that happiness provides a very tangible increase in employee happiness survey results. This, of course, begs a question: 

What makes employees happy at work?

The first thing you should know is that money is not the key to workplace happiness. It’s perfectly possible for well-paid professionals to feel unhappy in regards to their work and workplace, even though it’s true that increasing wealth does normally increase happiness. The problem with wealth as a happiness-increaser is that changes in wealth only increase happiness temporarily, and after someone can pay to cover their basic needs, the increases in happiness are subject to diminishing returns.

So, with money off of the table, where do you turn first? Well, a clean environment is a great start. When office cleaning is able to keep up with the incidental waste and buildup of dirt generated by many, many employees, not only does it keep things looking professional, but it keeps things acting professional, too.

Humans are hardwired to be happier when dust and detritus aren’t present, and that’s still true in the workplace. 

Treat Your Employees Well

There are happiness-affectors based on the treatment of employees, as well. Treating your employees with respect, for example, causes a tangible boost in happiness, which in turn causes a tangible boost in productivity. Here’s some more examples:

  • Treating employees fairly both helps with the next point and ensures none of your employees resent each other.
  • Making your employees feel valued helps employees see how their work is important.
  • Ensuring your employees understand how they fit into the company’s goals means they, too, become invested in the company’s success.
  • Giving your employees autonomy means that they don’t feel as though you think they need to be babysat.
  • Engaging work that challenges your employees regularly both prevents tedium and increases the feeling of accomplishment.

All of these things are an important facet of increasing employee’s happiness by way of company policies that affect them directly. Realistically, of course, it’s not as though you’re going to be avoiding doing any of these things, but they may need more emphasis if you want the average employee to consciously notice them. 

Leave Room for Career Growth

Additionally, it’s important to consider the possibilities for upwards mobility. Many employees are very rewards-oriented in that they want to feel as though there’s a realistic chance for promotion, pay raises, and other benefits that come with success in the workplace, especially with the ever-increasing workforce. Often this can be difficult due the increasingly flat structure of modern companies, which usually means many fewer middle managers between the top and bottom of a company.

One way to promote the development of your employees and thus make them happier is by implementing a career lattice instead of a career ladder, emphasising the broadening of one’s career skills and taking ownership of their own career growth. Feeling empowered, surprise surprise, really makes employees happy! 

Closing Thoughts

While all of these considerations might require adjustments to company policy, or significant planning for new or soon-to-be companies, studies have shown that high happiness results in increased happiness, better productivity, higher retention rate, and positive scores on any employee happiness survey. This is why career development is more important than ever. Failure to adapt to changing trends and shifting workplace demographics is a fast track to failure in the larger scale.

Just remember that your employees are people too. If you treat them right, they’ll treat your company right, and both sides of the equation will be better off for it.

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