Why nice people are more productive in the workplace

Love to know the secret of a happy, productive workplace, and a more positive brand image? As research shows it’s more simple than you think: just be nice.

Being nice at work can be a quality that’s undervalued by employers. However, recent research from Monarch suggests that nice people collectively make for a more productive and happier workforce.

People who said they were almost always nice to their colleagues averaged 7/10 for happiness at work, while those who admitted to rarely being nice to co-workers only achieved 3/10.

It was a similar story where productivity was concerned too, with those who were rarely nice at work scoring themselves 4/10 for productivity, while the people that were often pleasant at work scored 8/10 in comparison.

Nice people are happier, healthier and earn more

The survey was carried out as a follow up to Monarch’s previous research,  led by Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmith’s University’s i2 Media Research Lab.

The study saw 100 participants complete a series of psychological research measures before taking part in two lab-based behavioural demonstrations. Ultimately, this research discovered nice people are more likely to be happier, healthier, and earn more than others.

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference

According to Monarch’s most recent survey, women generally experienced more moments per day where their colleagues had done something nice for them.

Female employees received thanks for a task they’d done twice per day on average, while they also experienced more instances of a colleague making polite small talk with them – more than 3 times per day for women, and just 2.7 times per day for men.

Both men and women were also asked how many times per day someone smiled at them as they walked past, and again it was the women who had the best experience – 3.8 smiles per day compared with just 2.9 for men.

Niceness is felt right at the top

A smile or a message of thanks can make the sole recipient feel fantastic, though the effects of simple acts like these resonate with the whole business.

Pleasant staff rate themselves as being twice as productive as those who are not, showing that it pays for businesses to hire employees based on their personalities, as well as their experience.

And when employees are happier, this can translate into a lower staff turnover, which is a huge benefit to businesses.

Rob Foulkes, Head of Digital & Marketing at Monarch, said:

“Our original study showed that ‘nice people’ have higher levels of emotional intelligence, helping them to deal with stressful situations that arise. This can be a really useful skill for employees and managers, and our survey results prove that niceness is an important quality that shouldn’t be overlooked or undervalued in the workplace.”

Niceness adds to brand value

Hiring great people also empowers the general feeling around your brand: nice people work for nice companies.

The ‘nicest’ people in the survey rated their company as 7/10, whereas those who said they are rarely nice only rated their company a 4/10.

How staff and customers perceive a business can have a huge impact on their clients, customers, and, ultimately, profits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a third of people said clients and customers spend more money if staff are kind to them.

Never lose sight of being nice

As part of Monarch’s research, people were asked for their advice on how to deal with stressful situations – a time when it’s easy to lose your cool and let your levels of niceness drop. Here’s what they said:

  • Always try to stay positive, calm, and happy.
  • Be honest and professional with your colleagues.
  • Try counting to ten to de-stress.
  • Use breathing techniques and mindfulness to calm down.
  • Make a cup of tea or take a break if your head feels cluttered.
  • Look at the bigger picture.

It’s no secret that being nice and having people treat you the same encourages levels of happiness to rise. However, what’s really been revealed here by Monarch’s research is that niceness works best when everyone from top to bottom is onboard.

A collective workplace culture leads to better productivity and a greater opinion of the brand from clients and customers.