Softworks Blog

Do Happier People Work Harder?

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Thu, Oct 13, 2011

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has been polling more than 1,000 adults every day since 2008, Americans now feel worse about their jobs and work environments than ever before. People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations, and detached from what they do. 
And there’s no reason to think things will soon improve!

Why are employees so downtrodden? It might have to do with poor employee engagement. The authors of The Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, write that

“Employee engagement may seem like a frill in a downturn economy. But it can make a big difference in a company’s survival. In a 2010 study, James K. Harter and colleagues found that lower job satisfaction foreshadowed poorer bottom-line performance. Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers. 

According to an article in The New York Times, Amabile and Kramer collected 12,000 diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies. They found one-third of the participants was unhappy, unmotivated, or both.

“Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment, and collegiality.” 

This means that employees are far more creative on days when they feel happier and perform better when they’re engaged in their work.

Topics: Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance, Motivation