It sounds like a bunch of new-age hooey: Employees with positive mindsets perform better at work. But new research shows that workers with a good attitude are more productive, more engaged and have better morale.
Researcher Shawn Achor, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog, discussed research where he asked workers to take part in what were called “positive habits.”
The activities included:
- jotting down three things they were grateful for
- writing a positive message to someone in their social circle
- meditating at their desk for two minutes
- exercising for 10 minutes, and
- taking two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.
After three weeks, the workers scored high on a “life satisfaction” scale – a measure of their outlook on life.
The kicker: Four months later, when the workers in Achor’s study were tested again, their “life satisfaction” had actually increased from the initial results.
Here’s where that’s most meaningful. Separate research shows that people who score higher on the life satisfaction scale tend to perform better at work and take fewer sick days. In a Gallup survey, for instance, people who scored low on the scale took an average of 15 more sick days a year than people who scored high.
And in one retail chain, stores whose employees scored high generated $21 more in earnings per square foot of space than other stores.
Bottom line: Wellness, exercise and social circles can have a major effect on employees and firms.
If you’re ignoring them, you may be ignoring key ways to improve performance of people and your bottom line.