Happiness at work does not increase productivity

Your happiness at work is a combination of four factors.

  1. Hygiene
  2. Happiness
  3. Satisfaction
  4. Fulfillment.

Typical hygiene factors are salary, benefits, office, how your boss and your company treat you.

Happiness factors are the people you work with, general atmosphere in the company, events the company arranges, what kind of happy stuff your company has for you. Fruits, ice cream, free coffee and free lunches.

The common belief in modern business, specially in IT sector, is that arranging hygiene and happiness right, your company will become more productive and happier people are willing to stay longer within same company. Usually job satisfaction queries concentrate on happiness and hygiene. They are relatively easy to measure. Some times you see short queries, where you are just asked how happy you are.

For many people happiness and hygiene factors are enough. They have good enough salary, they like the people they work with, office is great and there is enough amusement available – and then there is the small group of people who do not care about fruits or ice cream.

They appreciate all the hygiene and they are in general happy – but they are not satisfied.

The small part of people search for satisfaction and fulfilment and are actually ready to give up hygiene for bigger satisfaction. Satisfaction comes from different things. It comes from achievements and success. Possibility to make change. Possibility to learn. Feeling of purpose and meaning. Fulfilment and satisfaction comes with the challenge.

Nurses wont earn that much. Work is hard mentally and physically. They do not have ice creams or fruits and rarely free coffee either.

Aid workers work in difficult conditions, without hygiene factors, but the satisfaction must be really high. Feeling of purpose and meaning are significant.

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Happiness at work does not increase productivity

Happiness at work does not increase productivity

Setting up hygiene and happiness is relatively easy. It is mostly about money, how much you want to spend on your people. It might be the balance of salary and other benefits, few parties periodically, Christmas presents and some movie tickets. That is hygiene and happiness. Hiring joyful easy persons that smile all the time and then giving them t-shirts and free drinks in Christmas party. For some reason these are the things you tell to your friends and your friends are envious. Was the bar open or did you get drink coupons and how many?

Satisfaction is difficult. You would need to arrange challenges and possibilities of success. Most managers have no idea how to challenge their workforce and even if they do, it is damn difficult. Finding a balance and right challenges is not easy.

If your previous focus as manager has been in hygiene and happiness. Your life becomes even more difficult. You start to lose satisfaction seekers and all you have left is happy people. Your driving forces have already left in search of their satisfaction and the ones left, are struggling with bunch of people who area steadily in comfort zone and not ready to move from there.

Against common belief, latest studies are not sure if happy people are more productive. Recent studies start to disagree the fact. Happy workforce has other values, if not productivity, and it is really worth to keep your employees happy – but beliefs about productivity might not be true after all. If you do not believe me, I urge you to read this blog post from OPRABlog http://oprablog.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/job-satisfaction-and-work-productivity/ or even Wikipedia JobSatisfaction http://en.wikispedia.org/wiki/Job_satisfaction

” In short, the relationship of satisfaction to productivity is not as straightforward as often assumed and can be influenced by a number of different work-related constructs, and the notion that “a happy worker is a productive worker” should not be the foundation of organizational decision-making.”

I have recently seen many people to change their jobs. Most of them were not unhappy. They had happiness at work. Most of them have been really skillful and professional people and most of them have said that they are happy with the current employer – but they want more. The more they are searching for is satisfaction and fulfillment.

When your company gets in to the trouble or you want speed, you really need people who are there to get things done, without amusements or baby sitting. They do not work for money or rewards. Their reward is in the work they have accomplished. They search for purpose, satisfaction and  fulfillment. And when they find them, they will find the passion.

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photo credit: hinnamsaisuy via photopin cc

  • http://twitter.com/janasebastianx jana sebastian

    Excellent post, job satisfaction is paramount, and something to aspire to, for those who dont have that. A good reason to go self employed !

    • http://betterproductivityblog.com/ Rami Rantala


      Good point. Probably many of the people who wont be motivated by the benefits will go self employed..

  • http://www.sapience.net/ James Charles

    Good to be satisfied, however it is not achieved so easily. Employee Engagement needs to be done properly and so has to be the Rewards & Recognition

    • http://betterproductivityblog.com/ Rami Rantala

      Engagement is not easy either ;-)

      Shortly the engagement is “born” when you have enough challenge, recognition of accomplishments and support in times of failure and difficulties.

      Thank you for your comment.

  • http://www.sapience.net/ James Charles

    You’d like to be successful in everything you do, of course. Here’s how to make it happen. Getting what you want in you with self improvement –
    Productivity Software

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