Are happy employees more productive? Research says yes. Economists at the University of Warwick report that happy employees are 12% more productive on average. It might surprise you to hear that happiness has been shown to have a bigger effect on productivity than salary. Studies show that happiness in the workplace is more directly linked to a positive environment and how well the employer understands and responds to the employee’s needs.
Happy employees report feeling like their opinions are heard. Benefits like paid sick leave, vacation time and a path to upward mobility are important, but day-to-day perks also play a role in employee happiness. According to Forbes.com, the best type of happiness reinforcement comes from small rewards that happen often, rather than grand gestures that happen less frequently. For example, Google (ranked the best place to work by Fortune Magazine) provides free food to all employees that are placed in areas no more than three minutes from each work station. While providing food may seem like a distraction from work, it is quite the opposite. Employees who gather on campus for meals and special events are more productive overall and spend less time away from the office.
Employers across the country are figuring out creative ways to keep employees excited about the workplace. These employers provide everything from free snacks and meals to childcare, car washes and massages, based on the logic that taking these things off their employees’ to-do lists will keep them at the office longer. They might be right. Studies show that businesses that offer food for employees who work late are more effective at keeping them engaged in projects after hours and the price of the food is quickly offset by increased productivity and profits.
The best way to understand what might keep your employees happy is simply to pay attention. Keep an open line of communication and observe their habits. Do five of your employees disappear to the local coffee shop every morning at 10 a.m.? Maybe it’s time to consider a gourmet coffee cart and a space for them to gather on campus.
Be sure to consider the overall lifestyle and demographics of your employees so your perks aren’t misguided. The point is for your employees to feel like you understand them and care about what is important to them, so they will care about what is important to your business.
Want a easy to implement and fun food and beverage option for your workplace to help increase happiness and productivity? Consider adding a micro market to your breakroom as a fun and exciting way to incorporate your employees’ favorite food and beverage items.
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