The UK has a significant productivity problem. We’re at least 25% less productive than the major economies we compete with. There’s been plenty of discussion of the big factors behind this – our relatively weak capital investment, skills shortages and poor infrastructure. But to fix each of these requires substantial investment and long-term political engagement. Other, less prominent factors, like engagement among our workforce, could provide a useful boost to productivity while we’re waiting for action on the big issues. Experimental trials prove that making people happy can increase productivity by 12%, and that lower happiness is systemically associated with lower productivity.
We work harder and achieve more when we feel like we have control over what we do, and find it rewarding. We do better in jobs that we like. But many industries have seen job satisfaction decline over the past decade.