Research suggests happy employees are good for firms and investors

THERE IS AN old joke about a new arrival in Hell, who is given the choice by Satan of two different working environments. In the first, frazzled workers shovel huge piles of coal into a fiery furnace. In the second, a group of workers stand, waist-deep in sewage, sipping cups of tea. The condemned man opts, on balance, for the second room. As soon as the door closes, the foreman shouts “Right lads, tea break over. Time to stand on your heads again.”

Terrible working conditions have a long tradition. Early industry was marked by its dirty, dangerous factories (dark, satanic mills). In the early 20th century workers were forced into dull, repetitive tasks by the needs of the production line. However, in a service-based economy, it makes sense that focusing on worker morale might be a much more fruitful approach.

Proving the thesis is more difficult. But that is the aim of a new study* which examines the relationship between happiness and productivity of workers at British Telecom. Three academics—Clement Bellet of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Jan-Emmanuel de Neve of the Saïd Business School, Oxford, and George Ward of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—surveyed 1,800 sales workers at 11 British call centres. All each employee had to do was click on a simple emoji each week to indicate their level of...



via Business Feeds

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