Productivity: Why What You Do Outside Work is Important

Last updated: 2020-07-105 min read time
Subscribe to our blog

The focus on employee wellbeing has become increasingly popular in recent years with organizations around the world wising up to the power of employee wellbeing strategies as a way to attract and retain employees. Companies have even started incorporating employee wellbeing strategies into their employee value proposition (EVP). And for a good reason.

Not surprisingly, research has shown that employees are at their most productive when they’re happy, healthy, and engaged in their work. A study conducted by the University of Warwick found that happiness makes people more productive at work. Economists carried four different experiments with more than 700 participants to test the idea that happy employees work harder, and they found that happiness made people around 12% more productive.

And what’s the best way to create happier employees? Seeing your employees as whole people and supporting employee wellbeing. Professor Andrew Oswald, one of three University of Warwick researchers involved in the study, said companies that invest in employee support and satisfaction tend to succeed in generating happier workers. 


Happy in Life, Happy at Work

Humans are dynamic, multifaceted creatures and, in order to thrive, all the different components that make us whole need to be satisfied. This means in addition to our need for interesting (and meaningful) work, we also need time with our families, strong social connections, hobbies and interests outside of work, and so forth.

A Thrive Global article cites the book This Morning Routine will Save You 20+ Hours Per Week written by Benjamin Hardy, which shares, “what you do outside work is just as significant for your work-productivity as what you do while you’re working.” The article continues, “While leaders can build supports within the workplace, they can also work towards building the right mindset and culture supportive of wellbeing that the individual takes outside of work, too.”

To be whole, we need to meet our needs both inside and outside of work.

Creating the Right Conditions

To boost productivity, first, employees must have the right support structures and the right conditions. A Reflectd blog post about psychological needs, quotes the book Why We Do What We Do by Edward L. Deci and Richard Flaste, which illustrates:

“If you put an avocado pit in a pot of earth it will probably grow into a tree, because it is in the nature of avocados to do that . . . [But for that to occur] they need sun; they need water; and they need the right temperatures. Those elements do not make trees grow, but they are the nutriments that the developing avocados need, that are necessary in order for the avocados to do what they do naturally.”

To implement the right support structures and conditions to create engagement and, in turn, productivity, companies need to support their employees by prioritizing employee wellbeing programs and initiatives. 


The Benefits of Employee Benefits

One of the most effective ways of supporting employee wellbeing is through your employee benefits offering.

A benefits plan with a specific focus on employee wellbeing and financial wellness programs is a win-win for both the company and its employees. An EY study found that companies offering financial wellness plans saw a 56% increase in employee retention, a 50% increase in employee health and a 45% increase in productivity.

Flexible benefits plans (also known as cafeteria plans) allow companies to customize their benefits plan to meet the needs of each of their employees. Employees can then choose among a variety of pre-tax offerings to create a benefits package that best fits their requirements.

A Randstad US survey reveals that 94% of employees want their employers to ensure the benefits offered have a meaningful impact on their quality of life.

Whether it’s the flexibility to choose supplier or the flexibility to choose the pension or insurance that best suits the individual, a flexible benefits model ensures that the employee benefits offered are impactful.

In conclusion, to boost employee productivity, companies need to see their employees as whole people and support their employees’ wellbeing. It’s as simple as that.

Want to learn more about employee happiness? Download our 2018 Employee Happiness Index e-book!
Download e-book