We've always known that a positive attitude leads to higher levels of productivity, but now we have proof. Economists at the University of Warwick in England found that happiness increases productivity by 12%.
Researchers conducted a variety of experiments to test if happy employees work harder. The study, which was published in the Journal of Labour Economics, involved 700 participants. Researchers showed some participants a clip of stand-up comedian Bill Bailey, and others were given free fruit and chocolate. Another group was given nothing, but watched a placebo video. Then, the participants were asked to add up a series of five two-digit numbers in 10 minutes. This was specifically designed to test productivity under pressure.
Those who watched the Bill Bailey video or ate chocolate showed better performance levels than the other participants, showing an improvement of approximately two correct answers.
Researchers also wanted to test if the reverse was true. So, they asked participants about any recent tragedies that may have led to feelings of unhappiness. Those who had reasons to feel unhappy showed worse performance levels.
In the real working world, researchers suggest the main reason for unhappiness is poor management. “The key lesson for managers from our research is that more happiness will not result in more distraction," said Eugenio Proto, one of the researchers.