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When purpose meets beauty: the power of art in the post-pandemic office


The Wellbeing Research Centre of the University of Oxford conducted a study in 2019 that analysed data from 230 independent organisations across 49 industries. The findings suggest that employees’ satisfaction with their company strongly correlated with employee productivity.

Merit-based flexibility could be the future of work as return-to-office mandates fail to prop up productivity


Additionally, hybrid work is the equivalent of an 8% salary increase in terms of employee satisfaction, as Bloom’s findings suggest. An Oxford-Saïd Business School and BT study takes this further, quantifying happiness and its impact on productivity among content workers: a 13% increase in performance.

Make people happier – not just wealthier and healthier


“Basically, economists wanted to be more scientific,” explained Michael Plant, who leads the Happier Lives Institute. “They thought something only counts as science if it’s objectively measurable. Feelings aren’t objectively measurable, therefore they are not science.”

So economists turned away from squishy concepts like happiness and toward objective proxies for well-being, like GDP. In the postwar period, GDP became the go-to way for measuring well-being, even though the concept’s inventor, Simon Kuznets, warned that “the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income.”

Can tracking happiness improve your wellbeing?


Plant (“an old-fashioned utilitarian”) is pragmatic in his approach. He argues that improving lives can be as important as saving them. Research by the Institute has concluded that spending $1,000 on group therapy in low-income countries—the Institute advocates for a charity called StrongMinds—is a more cost-effective way to improve wellbeing than investing in mosquito nets.

The creator of Yale’s viral happiness class offers tips for boosting employee satisfaction

Fast Company

The day I spoke with happiness expert Laurie Santos, PhD, she could hardly contain her excitement sharing Jan-Emmanuel De Neve’s workplace happiness study. In partnership with Indeed, his team at Oxford surveyed 15 million people about everything from their stress levels at work to their overall life satisfaction.

“I start with this study because it reveals our utter misconceptions,” Santos tells me.

Indeed lists top 10 employers for work wellbeing in the UK

HR Magazine

[Jan-Emmanuel] De Neve added: “Indeed’s 2023 Better Work Awards are determined by data from the world’s largest study on employee wellbeing with a majority of this year’s top-performing UK companies either in healthcare and retail.

“Given the war for talent over the last year it may not be surprising that these organisations have been at the forefront of creating work environments that seek to give workers the best possible experience.”

Indeed Announces Inaugural Better Work Awards, Honoring the Top Companies for Work Wellbeing in the U.S., U.K. and Canada

Business Wire

“Research consistently shows that how we feel at work matters. It deeply impacts our general wellbeing, our productivity and benefits society,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Professor of Economics at Saïd Business School and Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University.

“For employers, the wellbeing of their workforce cannot be underestimated as Oxford research shows that those who prioritize wellbeing reap the rewards of higher productivity and improved employee retention and attraction. In turn, this leads to greater business performance. This is something we’ve now shown to be the case in both hard financial metrics as well as stock market performance.”

Futuremakers: Workplace wellbeing with Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

University of Oxford, Futuremakers Podcast

In Episode 5 of the series Prof Lennox sits down with Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director of the Wellbeing Research Centre, Fellow at Harris Manchester College and Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the Saïd Business School.

During their conversation they look at recent research findings from the Wellbeing Research Centre that examine the role of the workplace in overall life satisfaction.  

Here, they also discuss the surprising findings on how social elements, office architecture and even weather patterns contribute to our wellbeing at work, and the evidence linking happiness and productivity.

Unpacking the business case for happiness

S&P Global, ESG Insider Podcast

Jan talks to us about his research, including a new study making headlines that explores workplace wellbeing and firm performance. He explains that measuring worker wellbeing can be challenging because it involves the way people feel, and senior leaders are often hesitant to take action on subjective indicators. 

“What’s so nice about the studies we’ve done is that we showed these subjective indicators — how people feel at work — that there’s real objective consequences or objective correlations to very highly objective data, including the financial performance of companies,” Jan tells us.

CEOs say we should return to the office for the sake of connection. Workers aren’t buying it just yet

Fast Company

In 2019, University of Oxford Saïd Business School professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve coauthored a study showing that happy workers are more productive. But he’s since grown concerned that too much remote work will come at too great a cost: “Your social capital, your intellectual capital, your sense of belonging are undermined over time while working remotely, he says. “The negatives of working from home only really creep up after a while.”

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