According to recent studies, happiness in the workplace is positively correlated with productivity, so as happiness increases, productivity follows suit, but when unhappiness gains a foothold, productivity and, ultimately, the health of the business, suffer.
To this end (and also because We Care A Lot) we’ve set up a simple “barometer of happiness”, or “happiness index” as we like to call it, that acts as an early warning system to quickly detect any potential outbreak of unhappiness in the team, so we can nip it in the bud. This happiness indicator gives an important perspective on the health of the business, and is arguably as important as any balance sheet, profit and loss statement, or cashflow report.
The first prototype, or version 0.1, has been live for a couple of months now and has provided some illuminating insight into our collective emotional condition (Tuesdays, for instance, are a regular, recurring low point in the week).
So, what’s the ground-breaking technology that makes all this possible?
The answer… A couple of buckets and a few dozen tennis balls. :)
At the end of the day, as we leave the office, we each drop a tennis ball into either the Happy or Unhappy bucket, to capture how we felt, on balance, throughout the day. The following morning, the balls are counted (by either Max, or a band of merry pixies, I’m not sure which) and the totals scrawled on a piece of paper stuck to the door. At the end of each week, Pete, our industrious chairman, tots up the numbers and logs them in a Google spreadsheet. It’s poetry in motion.
To complete the feedback loop, we periodically fetch and process the data from the spreadsheet using Google App Engine, and display it on our internal, Geckoboard-powered dashboard, keeping the data nice and visible, and allowing us to answer the all-important question: over time, as a group, are we becoming more or less happy?
Here’s a screenshot of our Geckoboard instance, which runs continually in the office on a spare monitor, showing the latest results (along with other must-have information, such as rail times, what’s playing on the office stereo and what’s being said about us on Twitter):
Last week was a bad week, but we’re working on it!