Does Employee Happiness Have an Impact on Productivity?
Clément S. Bellet, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, George Ward
This paper provides evidence from a natural experiment on the relationship between positive affect and productivity. We link highly detailed administrative data on the behaviors and performance of all telesales workers at a large telecommunications company with survey reports of employee happiness that we collected on a weekly basis. We use variation in worker mood arising from visual exposure to weather—the interaction between call center architecture and outdoor weather conditions—to provide a quasi-experimental test of the effect of happiness on productivity. We find evidence of a positive impact on sales performance, which is driven by changes in labor productivity—largely through workers converting more calls into sales and to a lesser extent by making more calls per hour and adhering more closely to their schedule. We find no evidence in our setting of effects on measures of high-frequency labor supply such as attendance and break-taking.