Rushing to work? Stop and smell the coffee. Pause to see the flowers. Get a good breakfast and switch on some music. The effort of getting into a peppy mood is worth it; the payoff includes productivity and positive people interactions.

Research indicates that employees’ positive state of mind is linked to their productivity. Dr. Nancy Rothbard and her associates asked telephone customer service representatives at a Fortune 500 company to record their moods over a period. The records were checked against their service cycles. The evidence was hard to ignore. Representatives who began their day on a positive note, felt positive after talking to customers and provided better service. Those who felt miserable in the morning saw almost a 10% decline in their productivity.

How can you get your own dose of positivity?

  • Smile. As Sarah Stevenson says in her post, a smile sets off a ‘feel-good party’ in the brain. Neurotransmitters that make you feel relaxed get released, having a beneficial effect on the body. Moreover, when you smile, you are likely to elicit one in return. And that spreads the cheer.
  • Listen to music. Mental health blogger Martha Roberts offers a bunch of studies that show the uplifting effect of music on people. The effects include tangible ones such as lowered blood pressure and anxiety in patients with heart ailments. Not hard to believe when you consider how your favorite tune gets you humming. Or prompts you to tap your feet to the beat.
  • Talk to people. Most posts on ‘how-to-stay happy’ and such other topics include one tip in common: socialize. At work, with friends and at your socio-religious groups. Need evidence to back this tip? Researchers Putnam and Lin say, the social experience that religion provides improves the sense of happiness, more than just what a religious activity itself can. There’s happiness in numbers.

What can companies do to spread positivity at work?

  • Focus on the food. Companies like Google, DropBox and Pixar offer a variety of food, along with a great dining environment for employees. Good food is also rated high among employee perks. Clearly, one of the ways to people’s heart is through their stomachs!
  • Create room for conversations. It’s not just about knocking off the cubicles and opening the door to the CEO’s office. Facebook staffers believe the open plan of their office space gives them the best of both worlds – interacting with others, while maintaining individual boundaries. Micro-kitchens scattered across the campus, along with a large café at one end of the building, promote interaction.
  • Build a culture. A positive work environment is not built overnight. Which is why business leaders like Ken Blanchard invest in nurturing positivity gradually. One of Blanchard’s practices is to send a voice message to his employees every morning, where he shares insights, talks about his concern for people in need and highlights the accomplishments of individuals. Good morning, indeed.

These were some of our suggestions to help you stay happy and productive at work. And it’s not an all inclusive list. For, each of us has our own rituals and ways of injecting a dose of enthusiasm into our routines. Tell us what’s on your list.

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