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July 27, 2021

Is a happy worker a more productive worker?

If there’s one thing the world’s employers might all agree on, it’s this: a happy worker is a productive worker.277152_smiley_face

But where is the proof? Offices with jerks and misconduct and toxic atmospheres can still be profitable, so it’s not as if this theory is written in stone.

Heck, even the 1977 New York Yankees – often characterized as the least cohesive team in baseball history – managed to win the World Series. Who says malcontents can’t still get things done?

Well, while it has, indeed, been tough to quantify the connection between happiness and productivity in the workplace, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying.

Add to the list of growing employer/employee relations studies this latest report from the University of Warwick (U.K.), whose research team has tried to nail down precisely that workplace contentment does translate to better business.

To do this, Daniel Sgroi, Warwick’s Assistant Professor of Industry and Organization, took a few hundred subjects into his lab and assessed them work for an afternoon.

Read about the school’s methods here, but in essence, participants were either a) shown a 10 minute comedy video to simulate a happy state, or b) left as they came in to complete the experiment. Subjects then, either “happy” or not, performed simple math tasks and had their scores calculated and mapped afterward.

Hardly a be-all-and-end-all method, sure, but Sgroi’s data perhaps left little to desired: in almost every case, the “happy” workers were more productive in their tasks because, as the researchers said, they voluntarily exhibited “increased effort.”

Yet as Sgroi and his team admit in their own conclusions, these findings may only translate to real-world work in the white-collar sector.

So for the rest, we turn to you.

Overall, do you think a happier worker is a more productive one? Have you found, at your own job, you work better when you’re treated as such?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...