Historically, happiness was only associated with weekends, spare time, and simply not being at work. However, recent research has uncovered a clear connection between happiness and improved employee performance. That makes sense: The more we feel as though our needs are being met in the workplace, the more likely we are to be engaged in delivering high-quality results.
In light of the recognition of the importance of happiness at work, leading companies are placing a greater focus on employee satisfaction these days. That raises a critical question: What can we do to improve our workplace environments to encourage more happiness among employees?
Why Happiness Matters at Work
When employees are happier, they care more deeply about the quality of their work and tend to be more productive. Furthermore, the happier an employee is, the less likely they are to leave their job. In short, organizations improve performance when they treat their employees as individuals who are capable of shaping both their own futures and the future of the company.
On the other hand, unhappy employees can impact organizations in significantly negative ways. Unhappiness is infectious; a single person’s mindset can affect the performance of those around them. If one employee doesn’t feel happy and valued at work, their negative attitude can spread through the company like wildfire.
As author and academic Annie McKee writes for Harvard Business Review, “How we feel is linked to what and how we think. In other words, thought influences emotion, and emotion influences thinking.” When a person is experiencing negative emotions, they can’t help but focus on the source of their discomfort, which distracts them from their tasks and limits their productivity.
Interestingly, McKee notes that studies have also shown overly positive emotions can hinder our ability to perform tasks at a high level. When we experience extremely strong positive emotions, we tend to get distracted by. . .