There’s an old joke that “you don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps”! We’re not sure about madness but we can vouch for happiness. Happier staff has been shown to increase productivity, staff retention and create a healthier, more satisfied workforce.

But how do you keep your staff happy? Employee happiness goes deeper than bonuses. Showing them that you care about their welfare can help bring a smile to the workplace.

A simple way to show your staff that you care is to encourage them to make healthier choices and support their wellbeing. For example, offering free food, such as a healthy snack, has been shown to increase happiness at work.

Here are two reasons why it’s healthy to be happy.

Keeping your staff happy will boost your business bank balance

To management, allowing staff to take breaks to stretch their legs or even hit the gym can seem like a frivolous waste of time. In fact, the opposite is true.

In one study, 85% of employees said that taking regular breaks during the day would make them more productive. Most (59%) said that more breaks would improve their work happiness, and another 43% believed it would boost their personal happiness.

Unfortunately, too many staff fail to take regular breaks due to fears that it’s frowned on by colleagues and leaders – one in five said they feel too guilty to take breaks, and another  55% said they don’t feel they can leave their desk.

According to John Trougakos, associate professor of management at the University of Toronto, businesses that offer regular breaks can reduce the costs relating to work stress, as well as improving employee effectiveness and satisfaction, and reducing fatigue. He said, “Disconnecting from work can do wonders for people’s energy and mind-set.”

Happiness increases productivity

Tests carried out by economists at the University of Warwick showed that happiness increases productivity.

The study, which involved 700 participants, included four different experiments. One group was either shown a comedy movie clip or treated to free chocolate, drinks and fruit; the other group were quizzed about recent family tragedies.

The experiments proved, for the first time in a study of its kind, that lower levels of happiness are linked to lower productivity – in the laboratory, happiness made people around 12% more productive.

And here are some of the benefits you stand to gain by keeping your workforce happy:

Retain staff

When staff are happy at work, you’ll be rewarded with loyalty – and a reduction in staff turnover.

Improve performance

If people are happy at work, this will be reflected in the way they carry out their tasks. Staff will have more energy and be more motived. As a result, you’re more likely to achieve your business objectives.

Leave the competition standing

When employees are happy, companies outperform the competition by 20%.

See sales soar

Sales staff who are happy produce 37% greater sales.

Reduce staff absence

When staff are happier, they take 66% less sick leave than those who are least happy.

Increase employee engagement

Happiness makes employees up to 10% more engaged at work.

Happy customers

Happy staff leads to happier customers. When your employees are engaged with their work and the company, they’re more likely to advocate for your brand, and this reflects in their interactions with customers.

Exercise – the sure-fire way to keep staff happy

After a workout we tend to feel happier and more positive, but what causes that reaction? Endorphins are most commonly cited as the reason we feel so good after a gym session. When we exercise, the body releases endorphins – chemicals that are produced to fight stress. They protect the body from pain and can be associated with a feeling of euphoria.

As well as endorphins, the body also releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). BDNF is designed to protect the body and brain from stress – and when we start to exercise, the brain recognises this as a moment of stress.

This protein acts as a reset switch and also has a reparative effect when it is released so that we begin to feel more at ease, and our mind feels clearer.

Other studies link the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine to the good feelings we experience when we exercise. When we’re physically active, the brain increases its production of these feel-good hormones. Low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine have been linked to depression – so this may be the reason why we feel less stressed and happier once we’ve had a workout.

Whether the feel-good factor comes from endorphins or serotonin, there’s no doubting that a workout is good for us – and good for business.

Also, getting your staff to exercise in the gym together can increase levels of engagement, and happiness, across the whole of your business – bringing colleagues together and helping teams trust each other.

Make your workforce healthier and happier with reduced gym membership schemes from Gympass.

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