“Positive Workplaces Are More Productive”—Harvard Business Review

New research suggests companies play the long game and opt for strategies that foster well-being over cut-throat office cultures.

Boggy/Dollar Photo Club

Many businesses rely on a cut-throat culture to drive success—there’s no time to be nice.

But the costs over time are beginning to show: sick days, disengagement at work, and lack of loyalty. Researchers Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron, writing for Harvard Business Review this week, outline how each of these areas are harmful to productivity over time.“Wellbeing comes from one place, and one place only—a positive culture,” Seppälä and Cameron write. They suggest four research-based ways for bosses to create a more positive culture at work: foster social connections, show empathy, go out of your way to help, and encourage people to talk to you (read about each in “Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive“). 

Being empathic is key to fostering a positive work culture and maintaining resilience when the grind gets stressful. “As a boss, you have a huge impact on how your employees feel,” Seppälä and Cameron write. “A telling brain-imaging study found that, when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind or un-empathic, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion while the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic boss.”