If you are happy then you’re more likely to be productive

In honour of International Happiness Day, which was on Wednesday, March 20, I thought it would be fitting to share a good news story for business.

This week we released some survey findings about what makes people happy. RedBalloon is in the business of creating ‘good times’, so we wanted to find out what gives people joy. When do people feel the happiest? And what we discovered was not only reassuring, but grounding in terms of what’s really at the core of happiness.

We discovered that 87% of respondents are happy with life overall – which is wonderful. But we also asked what would put a smile on their face. The most popular response (44%) – regardless of age, gender, financial situation or any of that other cosmetic stuff – was that people just want to spend time with their friends and family. And employers with a ‘happy’ workforce are dramatically more productive.

Putting aside our differences – our gender, where we live and even how much money we earn – what most of us are really seeking are the simple pleasures in life. We want to spend time and create memories with our loved ones. This is the key to happiness for many; at least according to the survey we ran with almost 2,500 people.

The other popular choices also reflect this desire for the simple things – 24% of people find enjoyment spending time with children, and others seek out animals for company (11%). So it seems we’re not all that different after all.

And interestingly, when we asked the respondents to rank the area of life they gave the greatest “happiness importance” to; home life and health came out on top. So the recipe for happiness should include looking after ourselves a little better, and spending a little more time with our nearest and dearest. It’s a pretty simple formula really.

Back in February 2011, I wrote a blog musing about the topic of happiness, so it’s something that’s been bubbling away in my mind for quite a while.

I wrote: “I know I am a very positive person (sometimes painfully so). But I don’t wake up in the morning and say ‘I’m going to be happy today’. I go and do my yoga, chat to my children, pat the dog, go to work and get on with whatever is planned for the day.”

It’s interesting to look back on this – my “recipe for happiness” I suppose – and compare it to the results of this survey. It seems I was just going about my day in a way that made me happy, but in doing so, I was ticking off each of those things identified in the survey as having a happiness impact – and I didn’t even know it.

For those of us who are ‘happy people’, perhaps it all becomes second nature – we know what works for us, what makes us feel fulfilled and valued and loved.

Have you stopped recently to think:

  • What is my definition of happiness?
  • What makes me truly happy?
  • When was the last time I felt deeply happy – or really belly-laughed?

So here’s your challenge: spend a little more time with your loved ones, have a conversation with a child, or simply show some love to your four-legged friend. And as a result, you will enjoy what you do every day a little more – and as such, you will be more productive.

One of Australia’s outstanding entrepreneurs, Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.

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