The ROI of Happiness at Work
Multiple studies have correlated happiness and productivity in recent years, but how this really benefits business is a different story. According to our 2019 Hapi Survey, only 41% of employees are happy most of the time at work and this number is decreasing as the years go on. Looking back at previous years’ responses, happiness at work levels have never been lower than they are now - down from 43% in 2018 and 51% back in 2017. ‘Frontline’ employees compared to directors and company owners often fare the worst too, with only 37% of workers in this category reporting to be happy at work most of the time, compared to almost double that (68%) of those at board level.
These statistics highlight the poor state of workplace happiness in frontline staff in the UK and brings into question the impact this fact could be having on both businesses and their profits. Economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness made people about 12% more productive. Further to this, academic research on IT related loss of productivity found organisations experience an average productivity loss of 7.6% due to unproductive workers. These figures show us that unhappy workers can potentially prove to be costly to the very success of a business.
On the other hand, according to Good, companies with happy and engaged employees have 50% fewer workplace accidents, 41% fewer quality defects, reduced healthcare costs, and 37% less absenteeism, alongside seeing an 18% increase in employee productivity and 28% higher gross margins.
According to the Universum Global Workforce Happiness Index, which surveyed over 200,000 professionals in 57 different markets, Denmark is currently setting the bar with the happiest workforce in the world. This is attributed to good working environments, regular employee satisfaction surveys, and a genuine passion for their profession. Danes are reported to have a relaxed workplace culture and people highly value their spare time, meaning they often live close to their workplaces so that more time can be spent at home and with family.
So what can employers learn from these findings and how can they use this to make improvements in their own businesses to help boost their bottom line?
What is clear from these statistics is that culture is a huge driver of workplace happiness. Offering employees a healthy-work life balance, having a flexible and kind working attitude towards employees, and employee reward schemes, can all start to generate a positive and distinctive change in revenue.
Culture can be particularly challenging however if a workforce is comprised of remote workers, shift workers, or workers who don’t ‘drive a desk’. In this case, it is vital to ensure that workers still have access to their benefits. Technology can be used to companies’ advantage here, and they can ensure their workers always feel engaged and included by utilising app-based HR, benefit and reward platforms to keep communication open and accessible 24/7.
What is also vital is to ensure employees are supported as a “whole person” - so not just whilst they are working. By offering services such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP), organisations can ensure employees are supported when they need it most, with support for anxiety, stress, money worries, domestic problems, property issues, legal advice, and anything else that they may need guidance on. This may also help reduce absenteeism due to stress and help staff find the support they need regarding mental health issues. With roughly 12.7% of sickness absences related to mental health conditions, employers should be doing anything they can to support workers when they need it most.
By taking steps to improve the happiness of their employees – both in and out of the workplace, employers can make inroads in increasing their productivity, reducing absenteeism, and improving their bottom line.
It goes without saying that, when it comes to operating a successful business, happiness pays for itself.