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How Old You Feel Does Impact Productivity

A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology finds that workers who feel younger than their true age reach more personal job goals, which in turn predicts a higher level of overall company accomplishment. Plus it does help productivity within the workplace when software such as Deputy is implemented within the business, as it does take away the stresses of mundane tasks, therefore allowing staff to get on with other aspects of their job.

In other words, “This research indicates to both researchers and practitioners that it is not employees’ chronological age but their subjective age, a factor that can be influenced, which drives organizational performance outcomes.”

Fast Company suggests this means that offices with ping pong tables and video games for employees might be on to something:

“The wow-factor has faded for startup offices with playground-style amenities—slides, ping-pong tables, game rooms with an Alice in Wonderland theme, and so on—but these designs still spark plenty of debate. Some experts subscribe to the idea that such features can improve both workplace moods and productivity. Others sympathize with the likes of interior designer Denise Cherry, who recently called the trend “a little bit juvenile, a little too playful. But it stands to reason that playful design helps employees stay young at heart, which in turn could have a big impact on a company’s success. That’s the key take from a new study of ‘subjective’ employee age among 107 businesses.”

“Efforts to connect a workplace’s average age with its performance typically focus on employee date of birth. But once we hit 25, most of us feel younger than our actual age; a 2006 study found that people over 40 report feeling 20% younger than they really are. Since feeling young has been associated with several signs of health and vitality, Kunze and collaborators wondered if a rejuvenated mindset might impact work productivity, too.”

“So the researchers issued extensive surveys to more than 15,000 employees at 107 German companies in a variety of sectors: production, wholesale, retail, service, and finance. They asked workers to give their real age along with how old they feel, as well as several other self-reported performance measures, such as job goals achieved that year. HR reps and top management gave details on the company’s style as well as its success metrics, such as financial performance and employee retention. Sure enough, workers felt younger than their true age—4.4 years younger, on average, across the board. In line with prior research, employees under 25 actually felt older by about a year. But older workers more than made up for the youngsters: those age 30 to 49 felt about five years younger than their true age, on average, while those over 50 felt more than eight years younger than their drivers’ licenses revealed them to be.”

The bottom line “That youthful mentality paid off.”

The researchers found that as the average “subjective” age of a company dropped, the goals accomplished by this workforce went up.

Their analysis also showed that as goal accomplishment rose, so too did a company’s performance. In other words, employees who felt younger than they really were got more done during the workday, and the business as a whole benefited.