Study finds that happy workers are 13% more productive

Clément Bellet, Assistant Professor at Erasmus School of Economics, conducted research in the call centers of British telecom firm BT over a six-month period with Prof. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford,) and George Ward (MIT).

They asked the BT employees to rate their happiness on a weekly basis for six months using an email survey containing five emoji buttons that represent their levels of happiness. Bellet, De Neve, and Ward then compared the workers’ happiness data with the data that BT used to measure their workers’ productivity: call duration, percentage of calls converted into sales, and if the employees stuck to their work schedule. Researchers also tracked information on worker attendance, the number of hours worked, breaks, and customer satisfaction.

Happy workers are 13% more productive 

What they found was that when workers are happier, they work faster by making more calls per hour worked and convert more calls into sales. The researchers found that workers were, on average, 13% more productive during weeks when they self-reported as being very happy, compared to those weeks when they reported being very unhappy. It should be noted that researchers found that happy workers do not actually produce more work – they are just more productive with their time.

More information

Read more about their research on the Ladders, 28 October 2019.
An interview with Bellet from the HappinessBureau can be found here in English or here in Dutch, 16 January 2020.