Image created by Sergio Barros from the Noun Project
by Laura Dobie
It’s the International Day of Happiness today. To mark the occasion on the blog, we’re going to take a closer look at a recent literature search that we did on happiness and productivity, and how the service can help our members to be more productive in their work.
Ask A Researcher
The Idox Information Service offers an Ask A Researcher enquiry service, which is very popular with our members who need to source and synthesise evidence and policy documents to meet tight deadlines. We’re often told that our searches save our members a day’s work or more, were they to conduct the searches and synthesise the research themselves, and they free up our members to work on other areas and achieve more with their day.
They can ask us to search for information on their behalf, and our team of research officers will conduct complex searches of our in-house database (over 200,000 references across a broad range of subjects in relation to economic and social policy), and other sources, where appropriate, to compile lists of relevant references to send back to the enquirer.
We don’t just send on a list of references for you to sift through: our research officers will also produce a research summary to accompany the results, which provides an analysis of the references that we have retrieved. This highlights:
- Key findings;
- Implications for policy and practice; and
- Significant research reports and articles, which are particularly relevant to the enquirer’s needs.
If the enquirer has asked a specific question, we will do our best to find an answer in the documents that we have sourced and present this in the summary.
Literature search on happiness and productivity
We recently carried out a search on our database for research which examined the link between levels of happiness in organisations and productivity and organisational performance. You can view this sample search here.
This search provides an ideal example of what we’re trying to do with the Ask A Researcher service: rather than simply compiling references, we have specifically highlighted resources in the results (and key words in the abstracts) which help to answer the research question.
The results describe the search terms and date limits which were used, and provide an overview of the content of the resources which were retrieved.
The summary highlights key documents within the results which are particularly pertinent to the research question, including:
- MacLeod and Clarke’s concept of employee engagement: an analysis based on the Workplace Employment Relations Study, which explores employee engagement and organisational performance. It found that high levels of employee engagement were strongly associated with both financial performance and labour productivity.
- Healthy staff equal healthy profits, IN Management Today, Jul/Aug 2013, pp56-57, which observes that organisations which look after the wellbeing of their employees see a return in greater commitment and higher productivity. It stressed the importance of effective communication of employee benefits, which can have a significant impact on productivity.
- A government literature review, which has investigated the business benefits of adopting work-life balance practices, highlighting the positive association between flexible working and productivity and reduced absences, and between family friendly policies and retention and reduced absences. It observes that “A large body of evidence demonstrates that effective outcomes at the level of the individual, including job commitment, ‘happiness’, satisfaction, engagement and, in turn, discretionary effort, are all associated with business benefits such as reduced leaving intentions, fewer absences, less tardiness and improvements to performance and productivity.” (p.viii)
In addition to the results sourced from our own database, we also highlighted research from the University of Warwick, retrieved online, which also demonstrates the link between happiness and productivity.
Hopefully this article has provided some useful insights into the links between happiness and productivity, and demonstrated how our Ask A Researcher service can help our members to source and synthesise research in a short space of time and be more productive at work.
If you’d like to find out more about our Ask A Researcher service, or any other aspect of the Idox Information Service, you can contact us.