Are happy people more productive?

Editors note: This is a guest blog post from our regular blogger Susan Roan. Check out her website for more productivity tips.

An often touted phrase in the world of work is that happy people are productive people. If staff are having a good time, enjoying their work and basking in the joys of home life, they’ll get more stuff done quickly and to a higher standard.


But is that true? If you’re happy, are you likely to be more productive, or is the reality of being happy that you’re more inclined to skip work and indulge in extracurricular activities?

A recent study carried out by economists at the University of Warwick discovered that happiness makes people 12% more productive. More than 700 people took part in randomised trials and piece-rate working forming the basis of the research.

The professors found that, after showing certain people clips of comedy performances or treating them to a free snack and drink, they were able to work more efficiently and complete tasks far quicker and to a higher standard. Those who were questioned about recent family bereavements and tragedies were found to subsequently provide lower levels of productivity.

So, it seems that happy people are indeed more productive. But what kind of happiness breeds productivity and how can you get into that mindset yourself?

Few financial concerns

Unless you’ve regularly got far more money coming in than going out, you’re always going to have a close eye on your financial situation, but if you can keep away from the worries associated with overspending and rising living costs, you’ll be able to relax and be more productive as a result. It’s one less distraction. Set a monthly budget, and stick to it.

Rewarded fairly and frequently

Big bonuses are lovely, but they’re a little hard to come by. If employers focus on smaller and more regular rewards (a trip to the cinema for winning that new contract, for instance), happiness levels will rise as a result. The memory of the reward is what counts.

Positive surprises

Having your week interrupted by a positive surprise can send happiness levels through the roof. An unexpected trip to the pub or session at the local go-kart track will do two things; they’ll make you happy and draw you away from the work itself. The latter, in particular, is a key – if seemingly counterintuitive – practice when it comes to being more productive.

New life experiences

Discovering new places, swimming with dolphins or meeting a hero are new life experiences of the best kind. They remind us of how wonderful it is to be alive, the opportunities we have at our fingertips and will live far longer in the memory than the acquisition of material objects. Such experiences are the ultimate happiness-inducing, long-lasting drug, and you’ll carry that feeling throughout your daily work.


Happiness is surprisingly easy to come by. Some would argue it is easier to find than unhappiness, and while the latter is an unavoidable part of our journey through life, creating lasting happiness beats every app, technique and practice when it comes to increasing productivity.

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Richard Lalchan

Richard Lalchan is founder of Creatives Hub whose mission is to help as many creatives as possible get rid of the shackles of procrastination, break out of fear, grow in confidence and get stuff done. He also works with individuals and businesses to build their web presence, runs a podcast network and is currently writing his first sci-fi novella.

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