Younger generations tend to receive a fair amount of criticism for their obsessions with instant-gratification-based systems like social media and video games. There’s this idea that somehow, older generations were wired to be more patient while technology has fundamentally corrupted the young mind beyond repair.
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Most of us are familiar with differing priorities among departments in an office and how that can impact the inner workings of a company. While management is more focused on developing practices that increase productivity and profit, Human Resources is often dedicated to employee well-being. Michael and Toby’s tumultuous relationship in the hit TV sitcom The Office demonstrates this dichotomy perfectly; it’s one we have seen time and again.
It isn’t without reason that this parody exists. Oftentimes, new managerial practices can have trade-offs that are detrimental to certain aspects of employee well-being, whether it be psychological, physical, or social well-being. Rather than argue one set of priorities is more important than another, it’s more important to recognize that happiness, health, and human relationships are related, and their optimization leads to better overall outcomes for company success.
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You’ve most likely heard the commonly-held belief that work life and personal life should be distinct and separate. Why should it matter if you enjoy being at work and interacting with your coworkers as long as you can go home and relax at the end of the day? Well, since happiness has become an increasingly popular area of scientific inquiry, more and more research has been produced demonstrating just how important basic happiness can be in many areas of our lives, including at work.
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Intuitively, one might assume that monetary incentives are the most effective reward system. People like money, so monetary rewards should increase effort and maximize productivity. Despite this common assumption, research shows that higher rewards don't always lead to more effort and employee engagement. Paradoxically, some studies have found the opposite can happen, a phenomenon known as "incentive reversal."