Is Productivity The Key to Workplace Happiness?

Do you believe happiness is dependent on productivity? How many times have you thought that you’d be much happier if only you could get more done. Maybe if you went to the gym 3 times a week, put in an extra couple of hours a day at work and squeezed in a few more dates with friends, you’d be happy.

The problem with constantly pursuing productivity is knowing when enough is enough. Just how busy do you have to be before you’re happy? Pushing yourself to your limits is more likely to leave you stressed and exhausted than happy.

So what’s a productivity seeker to do?

Productivity as a product of happiness, not a cause

In my experience, productivity is spurred by happiness, not the other way around.

I find that people work best when they love what they do, feel cared for and believe that they are working for progress.

Plenty of research has shown that happy workers really are productive workers. According to this article by Alexander Kjerulf, founder of Woohoo inc and one of the world’s leading experts on happiness at work, happy workers are also more optimistic, creative, energetic, motivated, healthy and better at solving problems.

Kjerulf believes that happiness is key to productivity:

“The single most efficient way to increase your productivity is to be happy at work. No system, tool or methodology in the world can beat the productivity boost you get from really, really enjoying your work.”

Beware of the pursuit of happiness

Much like pursuing productivity is likely to leave you feeling overworked and exhausted, pursuing happiness is likely to leave you feeling disappointed…

“If we become too focused on becoming happy, we may forget to be happy. Mindless pursuit can lead to less satisfaction, greater unhappiness, and a greater overall dissatisfaction with life – one’s own life, to be precise.

If our expectations are too high, we are bound to feel unsatisfied. Maybe, we should instead adopt the business mantra of under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to our own wellbeing.” – Maria Konnikova, Big Think.

So if actively pursuing happiness and productivity is going to leave you disappointed, what can you do?

Make work a happy place and watch productivity soar

Instead of striving to be ever happier and more productive, why not do what you can to make your work environment a ‘happy place’? If you enjoy your workplace, and design it so that it helps you focus, you can be sure to improve happiness and productivity for you and your team.

Here’s a few ways you can make work your happy place…

Understand your teams’ needs

The first step to making work a happy place is understanding what motivates your team.

“Think about what you could add to the way you manage or lead. This isn’t about tricks or magic. It’s about understanding some of what makes people tick and what helps them to get the most out of work and life.” –

Create a culture of growth and progression

Making sure your team understand that their hard work will pay off is key to improving both productivity and happiness.

If your team feel like they’re in a dead end job, of course they are going to lack motivation and enthusiasm. If they know that working hard will result in career progression and success for the company, they are more likely to be more productive and fulfilled in their work.

Socializing with colleagues

According to Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, people who have a ‘best friend’ at work are up to seven times as likely to be engaged with their job than those who don’t. Need I say more?

Encourage your team to socialize outside of work and form friendships which could increase productivity and improve collaboration and, if nothing else, will make work much more enjoyable for them.

Happiness at work means caring about what you do

If your team don’t care about their work, they are unlikely to be happy in it.

It’s important that everyone on your team understands the role they play in your company’s success. Even if they consider their job to be unskilled or menial, it still plays a vital role in your business (or you wouldn’t be paying them to do it!) so make sure you let them know just how important they are.

Teresa M. Amabile, who has extensively studied creativity, productivity and innovation in the workplace, believes that employees need to consider their work as meaningful in order to feel fulfilled…

“…of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important — by far — is simply making progress in meaningful work.”

How do you make sure your team stay happy and motivated? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Britt Selvitelle via Compfight cc

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