The Yield of Happiness
Productivity and hard work have long been integral pieces of a successful workplace. Now human emotion is joining them. Organisations have discovered that treating people like robots leads to hostility, dissatisfaction and resentment towards management.
Businesses are changing and at the forefront of this push for change is Jay Cross, chair of the Internet Time Alliance and informal expert. Cross has been striving to educate workplaces and their employees on the benefits of a happy working environment and teaching how small changes can boost productivity, ultimately increasing an organisation’s bottom line. One of Cross’ wellbeing-enhancing projects is “Blips”, a new app for portable devices that measures aggregate happiness in the workplace and will debut at this year’s ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN.
Over the last century, business productivity has on the whole increased as a result of technological advancements, the standardisation and simplification of jobs and the careful monitoring of tasks assigned to each employee. These practices were designed to increase managerial power and control in the workplace, and though they have proven effective for use in mass production, they have led to the dumbing down of tasks. Furthermore, such practices are a leading cause of dissatisfaction among employees, who feel undervalued and dehumanised.
Jay Cross explains that these archaic business attitudes are remnants of the industrial age where workers were simply a cog in a business’ machine: “In the network era, we want workers to think, to come up with novel ideas, and to be passionate about their work”. Vestigial practices that treat workers as emotionless tools are incompatible with the expectations that modern businesses have of their employees.
In the past, employees were expected to leave their feelings at home and complete their assigned tasks without creative thought or passion. However, when a business discourages employee emotion it also limits the creative potential of its employees. One study on the effect of happiness in the workplace found that happy employees are 31% more productive and three times more creative than their regular colleagues. With many modern organisations now pushing for employees to think and be creative, change is needed.
Earlier this year, Jay Cross made a commitment to educate businesses on the importance of bringing emotions into the workplace. He has been experimenting with a number of methods to increase satisfaction in the workplace, feeling that meditation and positive thinking are integral to boosting employee wellbeing and relieving stress.
In enable businesses to see the correlation between levels of happiness and productivity, Jay has produced an app called “Blips”, a happiness monitor that will be available on all portable devices.
The app will provide solid numbers and allow organisations to understand the overall levels of contentment throughout the office. These figures can later be analysed and compared to productivity and quality levels which will allow organisations to understand the change needed.
Cross plans to debut his app at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN and participants will be invited to take part in the first trial of this app. Participants who try the app will see their overall happiness graphed against that of the other attendees of the conference in real time.
Jay Cross will demonstrate the results of “Blips”, the self-monitoring wellbeing app, to ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN participants in the session entitled Positive Emotion and Performance on Thursday 29th November, from 14:00 – 16:00. In addition, Cross will be taking part in the session entitled Business EDUCA Opening Conversation: Thriving in Uncertainty: The L&D Business Challenge on Thursday Nov 29th, from 12:00 – 13:30.