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Proof that a little positivity goes a long way

A culture of fear and high pressure has long been the way companies cultivate productivity. But research shows there has been a shift in what motivates people and it points to positive psychology as an essential tool.

The age-old presumption that stress makes you work harder may be true, but high levels of pressure can also lead to health problems, which in turn cause days lost to sickness. The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 million (£333,420,000) is taken from the US economy because of workplace stress, with 550 billion workdays lost to stress-related illness, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Harbouring a positive and friendly environment where employees don’t feel threatened if they don’t perform as well as they’d like to can help reduce stress levels and increase productivity.

A recent Gallup Poll pointed to four specific steps that can foster positivity in the workplace.

1 Encourage social connections
Studies show that social interaction at work can lead to lower incidences of sickness and depression, employees learn faster and perform better. Research by the University of California shows that early deaths are 70% more common in people with poor social lives.

2 Show empathy
A brain-imaging study found that employees were more engaged by empathy from their bosses and showed more activation of areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion when they remembered un-empathetic managers.

3 Always be willing to help
Staff members are more likely to show loyalty to managers who go out of their way to help them. Employees are also more productive if their leaders are seen as effective and charismatic. Plus, new research shows that physical distance plays a part in the adoption of a boss’s behaviour among employees, good or bad.

4 Encourage communication
Trust is a huge part of a company’s success. Managers have to trust their employees and vice versa. Staff feel safer if the firm has an open door policy for them to talk about their problems and worries. It can also lead to employees being more open to taking on new challenges and stepping out of their comfort zone to improve their skills.

Read the original article at bit.ly/1In1SMu and more on the topic at bit.ly/2dhW0J3