With today being International Happiness Day, how can we be happy and more productive at work?

Research has recently been carried out by iOpener Institute for People and Performance and it has shown that there are five main drivers of individual productivity and this improves performance and also ensures that employees are happy in their work too.

The five drivers are effort, short-term motivation, how well you fit into a firm, long-term engagement and self-belief.

1. Effort

Having clear goals and objectives helps us to focus on what is important at work and how we deal with any problems or issues as they arise. When there is a problem, ask for others to help and this is where leaders and employees need to appreciate that this can and will solve problems early before they get much bigger.

An annual performance review is not always the best way for a manager or for an employee. A better approach is to have constructive feedback with a positive and appreciative approach which will improve relationships and boost productivity. It also ensures that manager and employee have a better relationship.

When negative feedback is given (although sometimes it is needed) can result in poor productivity and an increase in sickness absence.

2. Short-Term Motivation

It appears that there has not been a change in resilience levels but motivation has gone down by 23% in 2010 and gone up by 17% during 2011 but no improvement in 2012.

What makes us motivated and be happy to get up for work in the morning?

Some organisations identify individuals’ skills, their strength and expertise levels and then encourages them to work on what they are good at rather than in a job they dislike and are de-motivated. When motivated, this increases productivity and enthusiasm.

3. How Well You Fit Into a Firm

An organisation’s culture is often down to people, values, systems, beliefs and habits and this filters right down from the top. When an employee fits in with the culture, both performance and happiness at work are both high.

If an employee is in a job where they do not fit into the culture, this is not only de-motivating but also impacts on performance and general wellbeing. Often, a decision does need to be made as to whether to stay and try and change and fit in or look for another job and leave.

4. Long-Term Engagement

This is about commitment and long-term engagement an employee has with what they actually do and the organisation. When we work hard in the same monotonous job, this can be exhausting and can in turn result in high levels of sickness absence.

When we have a commitment to our job, it is due to the fact that we feel we are doing something important and worthwhile as well as feeling valued.

Employers need to regularly communicate the organisation’s corporate strategy and show how it is impacting on employees. There should be tangible proof of how the strategy is being implemented and the impact it is having as well as to profitability.

5. Self-Belief

When we are confident and believe in ourselves, productivity will improve and the data found that work is done faster, better or cheaper because of the confidence in people’s ability.

Confidence is a significantly lower average than the other four drivers and that’s a problem because you ideally need to have a confident organisations and confident individuals. Productivity works in the exactly the same way.

Statistics show that an organisation is losing about 100 days of work a year for every “unhappy” employee.

Do leaders, organisations and industries want to manage productivity and make sure it is going in the right direction, and then it is possibly time to consider using the five drivers, consider the figures and identify the significant outcomes that happiness at work can bring?

Smile and say thank you more often…….

Jessica Smyrl