Does Employee Happiness have an Impact on Productivity?
59 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2019 Last revised: 10 Nov 2020
Date Written: October 14, 2019
This article provides evidence from a natural experiment on the relationship between employee affect and productivity. We link highly detailed administrative data on the performance of all telesales workers at British Telecom with survey reports of employee happiness we collected on a weekly basis. We make use of the interaction between a worker’s access to windows while at work and the presence of gloomy or bright weather outside of each call center, in order to derive quasi-experimental estimates for the causal effect of happiness on productivity. We find a strong effect of happiness on sales. This effect 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 effects of happiness on various measures of high-frequency labor supply such as attendance and break-taking.
JEL Classification: JEL, D03, J24, M5, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation