News

New Study Explores Link Between Happiness at Work and Productivity

October 15, 2016

With an engaging, challenging workplace and a cell-based approach to manufacturing that allows individual team members to use their intelligence and creativity, IRD Glass is proud to have a staff that is both happy and productive on the job. But is this a simple coincidence, or is there a causal link between workers’ happiness and their productivity?

A new study from the U.K. discussed in a Fortune article claims to have hard evidence that happier employees are more productive in the workplace.

The experiment was carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy. Researchers used 700 individuals for the study.

Happiness is now an accepted policy goal for governments within large aggregate targets including economic growth and unemployment. The primary reason for undertaking this study was to see if any link exists specifically between happiness and productivity at the workplace.

The Method

To start, researchers selected individuals at random and either showed them a 10-minute comedy clip or gave them snacks and drinks. These “happiness shocks,” as the report called them, were intended to raise the participants’ level of happiness. The researchers would then follow up with a series of questions to make sure the happiness shocks indeed made the subjects happier.

Once confirmed that the comedy clips and snacks were effective with that individual, researchers gave them tasks to complete to measure their levels of productivity.

There was also a control group who did not receive the happiness shocks. These individuals were also asked to complete the tasks.

The Results

The experiment found that productivity from the happy group was higher than the control group by an average of 12%, with an individual high of 20%. These results are particularly meaningful given that, according to Dr. Daniel Sgroi, author of the report, in regards to GDP and economic growth a rise of 3% is considered massive.

Another metric the researchers tracked was the impact that “real-world shocks,” like bereavement and family illness, had on workers. They found a causal link between unhappiness and decreased productivity, which had a lasting effect of about two years.

The different forms of evidence with complementary strengths and weaknesses, the report says, are consistent with a causal link between happiness and production in the workplace. The primary boost to productivity from increased happiness was found to come from increased effort. While ability level is not likely to be affected by happiness, effort level is.

Real World Applications

Dr. Sgroi hopes that scientific support for generating happiness-productivity cycles at the workplace should help managers justify implementing work practices aimed at boosting happiness to increase productivity. Private sector firms should not ignore potential productivity gains in the current economic climate, he argues, and public sector departments can benefit by attempting to offset adverse impacts of spending cuts.

The Most Valuable Asset at IRD Glass: Our People

Our most valuable asset is our employees. Besides investing time and resources to hire the best engineers and technicians in the industry, we go to great lengths to keep our employees with IRD Glass. That’s why the average tenure for an IRD Glass employee is 8 years. All 40+ individuals on our staff are fully trained in their respective fields, and the majority are cross-trained in multiple disciplines. To learn more about our company, please visit our homepage today!