"Research done by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzanohas in Italy concluded that happy software developers are better at solving analytical problems. 'Even simple and short activities', the researchers note, 'may impact the affective states of software developers.'
Many large software companies have been providing various perks to developers, hoping that they will become more productive. Based on a study of 42 students from the Faculty of Computer Science, this research seems to validate that practice. Its findings suggest that 'the happiest software developers are more productive in analytical problem solving performance.' This is in contradiction to previous studies, most of which concluding that negative affective states foster analytic problem-solving performance.
I am happiest in silence, free to develop. I don't want activities. I want to be left alone; steered as needed.
That's what makes you happy. This study isn't about whether music and a mini-bar make better programmers, it's about whether being happy makes one a better programmer.
For some people, music and a mini-bar make the happy, for others, it is silence and being free to develop. It comes down to "When you get what makes you happy, you will work better." and honestly, it seems a bit of a no-brainer.
I think this is right. The problem is that even if HR or PHB understand this, they may try to apply a one size fits all methodology to engender happiness.
Yeah, if my skim of the article is correct (hurray non-paywall!) they had each of the participants self-identify their 'relative happiness' levels with some special tests and then had them perform a task. They then analyzed the tasks to determine how well they were done and if it correlated to how 'happy' they were.
They didn't see much of a correlation for the 'creative' tasks, but there was one for the 'analytical' tasks, such as software development.
It wasn't that they were adding stimulus to 'make the participants feel a certain way' (which they spent a large chunk of the article arguing against), but instead determined what state they were in as they went to perform work (doesn't appear to say if they let the participant 'work as they felt comfortable').