A new study by health and performance experts Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) confirms the role emotions play in business, and that happiness is critical for productivity and talent retention. While employee happiness can reap rewards for employers, the workplace doesn’t seem to be promoting it. A joint study by the University of Sussex and the London School of Economics found that being at work reduced employee happiness by up to 8 percent – second only to being sick. And more than half of U.S. employees (68 percent) are disengaged, according to Gallup.
Psychological health can impact physical health as well as attitude. Disengaged workers are not hostile or disruptive, but they do the minimal amount of work required, rarely put in extra effort, and are less vigilant. They are also more likely to miss work and look for other jobs. They’re thinking about lunch or what to do after work, rather than better ways to do their job or how to move the company forward.
GCC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Batman urged employers to look for signs of discontent long before they spiral into resignations. Quoted in an EHS Today article, he said, “Interpersonal relationships often provide key insights into whether employees are happy or not. So leaders should look around their teams; if there’s a continual lack of collaboration, or tension and conflict, then these may be signs that all isn’t well… So just as workplace wellbeing strategies create opportunities to manage stress and improve psychological wellbeing, so too should they provide opportunities to be positive.” Reflecting on achievement, practicing gratitude and saying thanks are small things, Batman acknowledged, but he added, “Our findings show they add up to a big difference.”