The Secret to Job Satisfaction
MONEY REALLY CAN’T BUY YOU HAPPINESS, EVEN IN THE WORKPLACE.
RECENT RESEARCH HAS PROVEN THAT JOB SATISFACTION ISN’T RELATIVE TO THE NUMBER OF ZEROS AT THE END OF YOUR PAY CHEQUE.
SO WHAT MAKES US FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE WORK WE DO?
THE STUDY’S BELOW EXPLAIN WHY THE KEY FACTORS TO FULFILLING WORKLIFE ARE – POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, HARD WORK, APPRECIATION, AND HELPING OTHERS – ALL ELEMENTS THAT ARE THRIVING IN A CO-WORKING ENVIRONMENT.
STUDY 1: THE LESS APPRECIATED WE FEEL OUR WORK IS, THE MORE MONEY WE WANT TO DO IT.
The Study: Students at MIT were given a piece of paper filled with random letters, and asked them to find pairs of identical letters. Each round, they were offered less money than the previous round. People in the first group wrote their names on their sheets and handed them to the experimenter, who looked it over and said “Uh huh” before putting it in a pile. People in the second group didn’t write down their names, and the experimenter put their sheets in a pile without looking at them. People in the third group had their work shredded immediately upon completion.
The Results: People whose work was shredded needed twice as much money as those whose work was acknowledged in order to keep doing the task. People in the second group, whose work was saved but ignored, needed almost as much money as people whose work was shredded.
Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely Explains: “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes,” Ariely says. “The good news is that adding motivation doesn’t seem to be so difficult. The bad news is that eliminating motivation seems to be incredibly easy, and if we don’t think about it carefully, we might overdo it.”
How Gravity Helps: Appreciation gives more job satisfaction and ultimately happiness than a high earning job where you feel under appreciated – take the leap, do what you love, the money will come eventually but the journey will be a happy one.
STUDY 2: POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT INCREASES PERFORMANCE.
The Study: Undergraduates at Harvard University did mock interviews with experimenters. In the first group the experimenters listened while nodding and smiling. The second group were subjected to experimenters shaking their heads, furrowing their eyebrows, and crossing their arms.
The Results: The participants in the first group later answered a series of numerical questions more accurately than those in the second group.
Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely Explains: “Stressful situations can be manageable—it all depends on how we feel. We find ourselves in a “challenge state” when we think we can handle the task (as the first group did); when we’re in a “threat state,” on the other hand, the difficulty of the task is overwhelming, and we become discouraged. We’re more motivated and perform better in a challenge state, when we have confidence in our abilities.”
How Gravity Helps: It’s easier to get into a “challenge state” in a co-working environment, motivated by the encouragement and success of co-workers, rather than sitting at home at a kitchen table surrounded by self-doubt.
STUDY 3: THE HARDER A PROJECT IS, THE PROUDER WE FEEL OF IT
The Study: Origami novices were given paper and instructions to build a form. Those who did the origami project, as well as bystanders, were asked at the end how much they’d pay for the product. In a second trial, the instructions were hidden from participants, resulting in a harder process — and an uglier product.
The Results: In the first experiment, the builders paid five times as much as those who just evaluated the product. In the second experiment, the lack of instructions exaggerated this difference: builders valued the ugly-but-difficult products even more highly than the easier, prettier ones, while observers valued them even less.
Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely Explains: “Our valuation of our own work is directly tied to the effort we’ve expended. (Plus, we erroneously think that other people will ascribe the same value to our own work as we do.)”
How Gravity Helps: Attempts at a start-up might not produce the most perfect products but the feeling of accomplishment is much higher than if you lived by the rules.
STUDY 4: SEEING THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR MAY MAKE US MORE PRODUCTIVE
The Study: In a study conducted at Harvard University, two groups were asked to build Lego characters. In both groups, participants were paid decreasing amounts for each subsequent Lego character: $3 for the first one, $2.70 for the next one, and so on. But while one group’s creations were stored under the table, to be disassembled at the end of the experiment, the other group’s were disassembled in front of their eyes as soon as they’d been built.
The Results: The first group made 11 Lego characters, on average, while the second group made only seven before they quit.
Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely Explains: Even though there wasn’t huge meaning at stake, and even though the first group knew their work would be destroyed at the end of the experiment, seeing the results of their labour for even a short time was enough to dramatically improve performance.”
How Gravity Helps: In co-working spaces there is more opportunity to test the fruits of your labour on co-workers, see them put into action in front of your eyes. This is not something you will get if you are working from home sending out prototypes in the post.
STUDY 5: THE PROMISE OF HELPING OTHERS MAKES US MORE LIKELY TO FOLLOW RULES
The Study: Signs were put at a hospital’s hand-washing stations, reading either “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases” or “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.”
The Results: Doctors and nurses used 45 percent more soap or hand sanitizer in the stations with signs that mentioned patients.
Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely Explains: Helping others through what’s called “prosocial behaviour” motivates us.””
How Gravity Helps: Co-working life is about much more than renting a desk. It’s about getting connected to others who care about building truly satisfying careers, and helping fellow independents reach their goals.