Smart Benefits: Harness Happiness for Increased Productivity

Monday, January 29, 2018
Rob Calise, GoLocalWorcester Business/Health Expert

A 2017 study from the University of Warwick in the UK is the latest to confirm that happier employees make more productive ones.

The study contained two main experiments.  In one, some members of a group were shown a comedy video designed to increase their happiness levels while others didn’t view the clip. Both groups were then asked to complete a task that involved correctly solving math problems. For those who viewed the video, productivity was about 10% greater.

In the second experiment, people were asked to complete the same math problems from the first experiment, but then were asked whether they’d experienced a major negative life event recently. And those who did showed 10% less productivity.

If happiness helps, how can employers boost their employees’ well-being to reap the benefits? There are several steps companies can take:

  • Allow more flexibility. Workers, especially Millennials, are increasingly looking for more flexibility. Whether that means flexible hours or the ability to work remotely, consider giving employees the opportunity for a better work-life balance by enabling them to step away from the tradition 9 to 5 when needed.
  • Encourage downtime. Even in the workplace, employees should have a chance to decompress during regular breaks. Encourage employees to step away for short periods of time throughout the day. Provide comfortable areas where they can recharge, or hold short exercise sessions that give employees the chance to stretch or walk.
  • Power off. It’s hard not to constantly check work emails or messages, even when employees are off the clock. But it’s important to recommend that staff leave work behind at the end of the day so they don’t feel overloaded.
  • Relate. No matter what size your company, it’s important to take an interest in employees on a personal level – and have them get to know each other as well. Not only will employees feel like you and others at the organization care about them, but the relationships will make them feel like they belong in the company.
  • Ask, then Act. Solicit regular feedback from employees about what you can do to help them succeed at work, their ideas for improvements, and what they want from you as an employer. Then identify ways you can incorporate their ideas into positive changes at the company.


Rob Calise is the Managing Director, Employee Benefits of The Hilb Group of New England, where he helps clients control the costs of employee benefits by focusing on consumer-driven strategies and on how to best utilize the tax savings tools the government provides. Rob serves as Chairman of the Board of United Benefit Advisors, and is a board member of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Broker Advisory Board, United HealthCare of New England Broker Advisory Board and Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisors Council. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), American Health Insurance Association (AHIA) and the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC), as well as various human resource associations. Rob is a graduate of Bryant University with a BS in Finance.  

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