More Evidence for: Happy=Productive

Daily, I get into discussions with people about wellness, what it is all about, why it is important and how it can be promoted. As expected, the opinions on its worth and validity vary with each conversation. There are times I walk away feeling at ease and content, as I have met someone with my like mindset, and others where I feel frustrated, and think, “Really??” Then I remind myself, “Patience, Lauren. This is why you do what you do!”

I was more than happy when a family member posted an article to her Facebook page (good old FB!) from the New York Times, which reiterated why it is important to look after the happiness and mental health of employees. It even had that catch-word “productivity” throughout! I am going to share the link here so you can also have the pleasure of reading it.

If you do not have time at the moment, here are some key take-aways:

1. A study done by the New York Times showed the following, “Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality. Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier. Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do.”

2. A manager has a direct role in creating this happiness and can do so simply by offering to help or giving praise and recognition. Often the two-word phrases, “Good job!” or “Excellent work!” will do – easy, but not said enough!

A side note to support this information: Canadian researcher, Martin Shain, has been working for years researching the effects of work on employee health and stress levels. He has found a direct link between jobs with high effort and low reward (obtaining recognition fits into this category) to a whole host of health-related issues. And these troubles do not lie solely with the employee. They directly relate to costs for the employer. For example, these employees experience:

• two, to three-times greater mental health problems
• two, to three-times more injuries
• five-times greater incidence of certain cancers.

For more information, please see the PDF created by the Durham Region Health Department

3. Through their study, the New York Times uncovered an alarming attitude in the 669 managers they surveyed. These managers were not only in the United States, but were from companies around the world. They asked these managers to rank five employee motivators in order of importance. “Supporting progress” came in fifth place. 95 percent also failed to understand that this very support is what motivates employees the most, way more than what appears in their bank accounts at the end of each month.

I hope you found this article as informative as I did. Although some of the information is based on American data, it can be related to the Canadian workplace. Feel free to share it (or this blog post! ?) with your colleagues – especially if you have a few that make you stop and think, “Really??”

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