Some time ago, one of the entrepreneurs posted this quote on their LinkedIn profile: “People work at their best when their backs are against the wall.” At first, I thought this post must be old, like from 1990, but when I checked the date, I saw it was posted in 2020. My other thoughts were, “His account must be hacked because what kind of leader believes and communicates this type of message in 2020.
“Putting peoples’ backs against the wall” is an approach that belongs to the 19th century, and a leader who believes in this probably has no clue how to motivate others. Such leaders don’t understand that happier employees work harder, cooperate better together in teams, and are more productive.
Many studies confirm that happier employees work better. One research from the University of Warwick found that happiness makes people more productive at work. Researchers carried out a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. They found that happiness made people around 12% more productive.
There are many other benefits to being happy at work. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project, shared that happy employees are better leaders, more creative, and better team players.
In “Happiness at Work,” Cynthia D. Fisher writes, “Happiness at work includes, but is far more than, job satisfaction. A comprehensive measure of individual-level happiness might include work engagement, job satisfaction, and affective organizational commitment.”
Being happy at work means not only that you feel joy or are having fun but also that your work brings you a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Some people connect happiness at work to a large salary and lots of perks. But a Gallup study found that those benefits are less important to employees than their engagement and the feeling that they are contributing to something meaningful.
“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between 9 and 5. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.” — Malcolm Gladwell
Happiness at Work Makes Employees More Loyal and Productive
People who are happy about their jobs and, more importantly, happy when they are at their workplace are more motivated to deliver the best results. Why is this the case? The answer is quite simple. Happy people work better as a team because they are more willing to listen to others and find solutions, even when they have differing opinions. When problems arise, happy people will do their best to work them out instead of complaining about the situation.
Happy people have more energy, are more creative, motivated, and optimistic, and, of course, enjoy much better health. Interestingly, happy people don’t worry much about failing or making mistakes. The statistics show that they rarely get into such situations because they enjoy what they’re doing and invest more resources in their activities.
When a company has happy employees, the employees will learn any process or procedure quickly and make better decisions on their own. There are more than enough reasons why you, as a boss, should start implementing a happy culture in your company right away.
Happiness at Work Matters in Many Ways
You probably can’t imagine just how much happiness matters for not only your employees but also the entire company. Happiness at work is extremely important because of the effects it generates.
Here are a few things that happiness at work will bring.
1. Increased Satisfaction
To increase productivity and the quality of your results at work, you must feel satisfied with your work. When you are happy about what you’re doing or feel happy in the workplace, your satisfaction automatically increases. No challenge appears impossible. You can tackle anything that comes your way and, more importantly, do your best to produce exceptional results each time.
It is worth noting that satisfied employees are less tempted to walk away from their current jobs. Thus, happy employees will stay with your company longer than unhappy employees and will be more loyal Research from The American Institute of Stress shows that workplace stress leads to an increase in voluntary turnover by almost 50%.
2. Better Decisions
Who doesn’t want their employees to make the best decisions without constant assistance? When employees are happy at work, they can make better decisions, thanks to increased confidence and the motivation to do well at work. One study by Meghana Jain and Rinju George indicates that happier people tend to take less time to make decisions, and happiness does not impact risk-taking behavior.
3. More Happy People
Having a happy person in the company is beneficial for others. Working with a happy person is pleasant, and their mood can easily be passed to the rest of the employees. It is very easy to understand the concept if you think about a happy friend. When you spend time with this friend, everything seems to change in a good way — not just your mood but also your ideas, motivation, and perspective. Everything becomes positive simply because someone around you offered the right kind of inspiration. Many studies and articles support the idea that happiness is contagious.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer
4. Increased Positivity
A positive attitude is one of the best approaches to achieve top results. This rule can be applied to both your professional and personal lives. But as we all know, it is sometimes hard to be positive at work, especially during a challenging day. To achieve a positive attitude, we need to be happy first. That is why it is important to promote happiness at work. When a person is happy at work, they also embrace a positive attitude that will drive them toward obtaining the ideal results.
5. Faster Learners
When you are happy, you are more likely to embrace the new, and nothing seems difficult — not even learning something you’ve never done before. If you want employees who can learn quickly, you need to create a happy culture within your company right away.
6. More Thinking and Less Worrying
Happy people worry less because they are certain that there’s a solution to every problem. Even if worries arise, happy people work them out quickly, thanks to their positive attitude and high self-confidence. And the list of benefits doesn’t end here. Besides worrying less, happy people make fewer errors. When errors do occur, happy people work on them or try harder to avoid mistakes next time.
In studies conducted by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers were found to have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects than happy workers. When there is no happiness, your entire life is affected negatively. You will worry more, make more mistakes, be unable to focus, and feel like nothing works out. This mindset affects your quality of life and makes you feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
7. Higher Levels of Energy
Low levels of energy are among the most often causes of poor productivity at work. But when you are happy, you rarely feel tired or lack the required energy to get through the day. Happiness at work is the fuel that keeps people going, making them work effectively for as long as they are at the workplace — not to mention that the results are better, and the workday is more fulfilling when energy levels are high.
Happy employees also display great interest in their work, act with confidence, and make sure that everything goes according to plan. These people feel sufficiently motivated to do their best at work and usually tick every off their to-do list. Pair happiness with a positive attitude at work, and you have all the energy required to do your job well.
Being happy in life is a basic human aspiration, and happiness at work is another thing we seek. Many research studies, such as the one from Gallup, show that happiness at work is essential to organizational success and well worth the investment and effort.
Many professionals feel disengaged at work and believe that success precedes happiness — that getting a raise or promotion will trigger happiness. But research shows that when people work with a positive mindset, their performance on nearly every level — productivity, creativity, and engagement — improves.
Happier employees work harder, work better together in teams, and are more productive than unhappy ones. That reality is backed up by not only dozens of studies but your own experience. When you are happy, you are more productive and creative at work.
Unhappy employees will leave to find happiness.
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About the author: Jan is a Talent Acquisition Leader with progressive experience managing teams and establishing processes. He has extensive experience in full life cycle recruiting and a broad knowledge of international recruiting and sourcing. Jan is a blogger, speaker, trainer, and author of the book “Full Stack Recruiter: The Ultimate Edition” and the creator of Sourcing.Games, as well as many other projects.