Are you doing enough at work to contribute to your employees’ happiness? In his new book ‘Can we be happier? Evidence and Ethics’, Richard Layard looks at happiness in general in the modern world. He advocates the Happiness Principle, where people should aim to produce the greatest happiness possible and create the least misery. He looks at how employers can play a part in this plan.
Layard quotes a study by Daniel Kahneman which looked at the times of day which are happiest for people. The study found that the worst time of day is when an employee is with their boss. The study also found that most people don’t like their jobs. It’s difficult for employers to change the work that people are employed to do, but Layard says there are things that employers can do to improve happiness among employees:
- Allow workers to influence how work is organised;
- Reward team rather than individual performance;
- Appoint managers who can inspire and lead effectively;
- Run courses on wellbeing;
- Take mental illness seriously, with managers who can spot it and know where to get help.
Employee happiness isn’t the only gain here. Happy employees are likely to be more productive, more willing to go the extra mile for their employer. Greater productivity means greater profit. And that will make employers happy too.