Happiness Boosts Productivity in the Workplace

Gallup estimated that unhappy employees cost the US $350 billion a year. It may be costing you individually too. So increasing employee happiness boosts productivity in the workplace. It is in the interest of both employers and employees to have happy workers.

How happiness boosts productivity

Shawn Achor (Harvard Business Review 2011) estimated that intelligence and technical skills contribute only 25% of your job success. The other 75% determining long term job success depends on your ability to positively adapt to the world. He found that:

  • Doctors who are positive come to the correct diagnosis 19% faster 
  • Salespeople achieved 37% more sales when optimistic

Happier people were also better securing and keeping a job, demonstrated superior productivity and resilience, experienced less burnout and had lower turnover rates.

Optimists outperform pessimists

In his book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman worked with MetLife to recruit a group of applicants who scored high on optimism during screening tests. These optimists outsold their counterparts by 21% in their first year and a whopping 57% in their second year.

How happiness boosts productivity at Zappos

Zappos has built a reputation for delivering happiness to customers. They do this by creating a happiness culture for employees first. Happy employees then deliver “wow” service to customers. CEO Tony Hsieh write a book titled Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose which I’m sure delivered happiness to their investors too!

In his book The Happiness Advantage, Achor explains how happiness boosts productivity at work. When we are happy, dopamine floods into our system. Dopamine makes us feel happier. It also helps the brain adapts to the world in a different, more positive way.

Only 10% of our happiness can be predicted based on our external circumstances. The other 90% of happiness depends on how our brain processes the external world. So a positive disposition has a disproportionately large influence on our happiness.

More resources on how  happiness boosts productivity

You could learn from the experts on the topic:

Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work covers seven principles you could adopt.

Martin Seligman’s boo Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life also teaches us how to train our brains to be happier.

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2 replies on “Happiness Boosts Productivity in the Workplace”

The concepts in Shawn Achor’s book significantly contributed to my happiness and overall success I’ve enjoyed in life. I believe in the material so strongly that my friends and I started a project to spread the happiness advantage through random acts of kindness – one book, one person at time. Check it out at http://sharetheadvantage.org and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear what you think about what we’re doing!

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