Happiness is the key to anything good. Whether it is love, friendship or family, the general indicator of a good life lies heavily in a person's level of happiness. What if we told you that happiness can even increase work productivity?
A 2014 study by the U.K. University of Warwick found that survey participants subjected to happiness-inducing methods saw a 12 percent increase in productivity. Inc. contributor Jessica Stillman also reported that while many people may believe success brings happiness, it generally works the other way around.
"We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities," said Shawn Achor, author of "The Happiness Advantage," according to Stillman. "Only 25 percent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five percent is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people and manages stress."
How to use your personal power to promote happiness
Happiness tends to be a catalyst for productivity and a business's overall success. But, how can leaders cultivate happiness in the workplace? There are a few key ways that any business leaders can assure their staff's continued happiness.
- Work location flexibility: In a separate piece for Inc., John Rampton, an entrepreneur and investor, suggested that one way to garner happiness is by allowing a work-at-home option for employees. Much of the stress felt by employees lies in the disconnect between their work and home lives. For many modern-day workers, a commute is a part of their daily routine. While the suburbs are a family-friendly location for adults to start families, commuting time into the closest city can add up to an hour or more. Rampton believes that by letting employees work from home, you are not only allowing them to cut hours off their total work day, but also reaffirming your trust in them.
- Three day weekends: An emerging trend for many young startup companies is the introduction of the four-day work week. According to Forbes contributor Susan Adams, companies like Treehouse in Portland, Ore. shut down their offices every Friday. While some business leaders might believe that this would bring down overall company production numbers, Treehouse's CEO Ryan Carson says it merely motivates his employees to work smarter, not longer.
- Be vocal about success: Who doesn't love a good compliment? When an employee secures a new client or aces a big project, let them know how proud you are of his or her accomplishments. Don't be shy with your praise. There are few things that can put a smile on an employee's face like a genuine congratulations from a boss. These small acts of gratitude can influence your workers to continue producing exceptional work for you and your clients.
- Laughter: You know the saying: Laughter is the best medicine. Turns out, it works for alleviating stress, too. As a leader, you should attempt to foster a relaxed environment in your office. Try things like hosting a bagel and coffee break once a month on Fridays, which gives employees a chance to step away from their desks and breathe. A quick break from work, especially when it includes laughter, can do wonders for productivity. Allowing opportunities for your employees to build relationships with one another can have the added bonus of improving office communication. And, hey, who doesn't enjoy a good bagel?
- Treats!: Speaking of bagels, why not try setting aside a little bit of the company budget for office treats? The University of Warwick study found that when subjects were given fruit and chocolate while working, their overall productivity increased by 20 percent. And it was at little cost to the researchers – the study noted that they spent only $2 per person. Try surprising your teams with little treats like this. It works as a cost-friendly reward for their hard work and lets them know that you value their efforts.
"Allowing opportunities for your employees to build relationships can have the added bonus of improving office communication."
Benefits: According to Susan Galer, a contributor for Forbes, one of the leading ways successful U.S. companies keep their employees happy is by offering them great benefits. This includes health care and compensation. The majority of employees work in order to provide for themselves and their families. By creating a solid benefits program for your workers, you are ensuring that their basic needs are covered. They do not have to stress about health care coverage or taking a couple days off when they are sick. Generally speaking, the less a person has to worry about, the happier they are overall. Review your company's benefit package and use your personal power to make sure that your staff is well-covered.