How happiness can make your workforce more productive…and how to achieve it

Productivity is generally defined as output per employee per hour

With research simultaneously suggesting that the British workforce is working harder and faster than ever before, these figures seem contradictory. And yet they are the cold, hard facts.

One factor that has been proven to directly impact on productivity is employee happiness. Put simply, a happy employee is a more productive one – some schools of thought suggest that they may be up to 12% more productive than a melancholy counterpart.

For this reason alone, companies should be putting measures in place to promote a happy workforce, not only for office morale but for the ultimate success of their firms. But what are some of the main strategies that businesses can adopt to achieve this?


Office layout is thought to have a major impact on employee happiness. For many years the ongoing debate of ‘open plan vs segregation’ in offices has rattled on. But ultimately, firms should work with their staff to create the best sort of spaces to suit their needs and encourage collaboration and inspiration to flow.

Colours and decor can also affect the way your staff feel. Bold colours, such as red, are thought to be stressful and unnerving, while lighter, pastel colours, such as yellows and light blues promote a more natural and calming ambience. Well thought through aesthetics such as artwork and comfortable office furniture will help your staff feel as if they are in a place that they are valued, rather than a thrown-together, low budget environment.


The nature of the modern world means that there are more working families than ever before and facilitating their needs is a great way to improve employee happiness and reduce stress within the workforce.

This is why many firms are trying to incorporate an ‘agile’ or flexible working policy within their companies, which essentially gives staff the freedom to choose when and where they work. This may mean allowing staff to work from home at short notice on a day where they may be struggling with childcare, for example.

But flexibility can also be adopted within the office by offering different workspaces from which different employees may find that they are more inclined to work. While some prefer the stability of having their own desk, others flourish in larger, multi-person environments. It’s all about promoting a more laid back, flexible approach rather than a one-size-fits-all style of working.

A social culture

One of the key factors that contribute to employee happiness is a positive culture within their workplace and this is often facilitated by having strong, healthy bonds with colleagues. Management should work hard to foster meaningful relationships between staff through workplace initiatives, social events, retreats and collaboration. This will undoubtedly help contribute to a happier workforce and staff retention.

Remembering that people matter, and working hard to facilitate good relationships, positive office culture, flexibility and healthy surroundings are just a few of the things that firms should be working on if they want to get the most from their staff.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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