Friday’s post about Google’s study on work/life balance raised questions about the relationship between employee productivity and happiness, and how both can be maximized. Economists from the University of Warwick recently published a paper on the same topic. The economists tested over 700 participants’ performance on a simple math quiz after feeding chocolate and fruit to one group, playing a stand-up comedy videos for a second group—and then giving an unfed, unamused third group the same test. Somewhat unsurprisingly, those who were given food and shown the stand-up routine performed better on the test.
As we discussed on Friday, doing a good job is its own reward, and it’s easy to imagine that the participants who performed well on the test left with a sense of well-being separate from the ones induced by chocolate and comedy. What does this mean for companies? How can you set employees up for success, build a pattern of productivity, and promote a self-sustaining culture of happiness and well-being?