Quantifying Happiness

Fortune recently named Google the best company to work for — yet again. Not only have they revolutionized our on- and offline lives, but Google now hopes to transform the way we work. Their data-driven culture has seemingly found a way to quantify employee happiness.

But what have they really learned?

It doesn’t take much data crunching to realize that providing gourmet meals, onsite dry-cleaning and exorbitant bonuses will increase happiness and productivity. Ditto for generous leave time and flexible schedules. Now Google wants to use their data to answer fundamental questions about worker productivity such as, “Are leaders born or made? Are teams better than individuals at getting things done? Can individuals sustain high performance over their lifetimes?”

These are fascinating questions. And I have no doubt the geniuses at Google have the wherewithal to answer them one day. But I don’t need copious amounts of data to know what makes a healthy workplace environment. As one of millions of people who spend the majority of their days, nay, lifetimes, at work, it boils down to a few simple things: trust, feedback, respect.

My company may not be as big as Google (yet), but the leadership is committed to creating a work environment where those values are stressed. It’s amazing how far something as simple as mutual respect will get you. Or trusting your employees and providing them with constructive feedback.

So while I admire Google’s efforts to quantify workplace happiness, I know that it’s still the small things that matter to most people.

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