We are happy why not try?

During my recent train journey from Mysore to Bangalore, I found myself seated next to a young programmer. He looked to be in his late 20s, casually dressed in a shirt and jeans, with headphones on. At first glance, it seemed like he was on a work video call, but then he started dancing in his seat—moving his hands in the air and tapping his feet every 30 seconds or so. My initial reaction was disbelief, thinking, "Youngsters these days don't take their work seriously. Look at him dancing while working—preposterous!"

I closed my eyes (it was a 6:45 AM train!), turned on the Audible app, and began listening to the latest book I had downloaded. About an hour into the journey, I recalled what I wrote in my previous blog: the single most important factor influencing productivity is the people around us. I wondered, would I rather be surrounded by serious-looking (and behaving) people like myself or someone with an infectious, happy attitude to work? Which one would make me feel more relaxed, happier, and ultimately more energized and productive?

As I pondered this question, I started delving into scholarly articles on the effects of happiness on productivity. Researchers at the University of Warwick found that happiness made people around 12% more productive. Another study showed that a typical employee is unproductive for 5 hours and 37 minutes each day (out of 8 hours), which is an astonishing ~67%. If we can improve this score by ~12%, just by making the work environment more "happy," imagine the productivity gains we can bring to the entire organization!

The obvious next question is: What can we, as managers, do to make our workplaces happier? I will delve into this topic in more detail in the next blog. Until then, as the song goes, "H-A-P-P-Y, we are happy, why not try?"

Have a Happy weekend!