Good days at work: the value for business performance

This WORKTECH briefing looks at the business impact of having a good day at work, the social theories that govern our workplace behaviour, and this autumn’s WORKTECH Chicago

As organisations bring their employees back to the office, employee experience has become the hard currency to help firms bounce back from the pandemic.

According to a new report from business psychologists Robertson Cooper, repeated ‘good days at work ‘can have significant positive impacts on productivity, business performance and employee health and wellbeing.

The data analysed in the report, entitled A Guide to Creating Good Days at Work’, not only quantifies the impact of good days at work but demystifies how great experiences can be created for every individual. As the pandemic has geographically dispersed the workforce, so it has become harder to create experiences for different needs.

The report found that by increasingly the average number of good days at work by just one day per week, there is a boost to productivity by 9 per cent, advocacy for the organisation by 10 per cent, and job satisfaction by 11 per cent. There is also a 12 per cent reduction in the intention to leave; six fewer days of presenteeism per year; and finally, five fewer days of sickness absence per year.

To understand what makes a good day at work, the report identifies two influential factors: personality and organisational structure. It found that personality alone accounts for 15 per cent of why we do or don’t have a good day at work – and employers cannot afford to ignore it when creating their workplace experiences.

However, the nature of individual personalities makes it inherently difficult to accommodate for everyone. In order to achieve the benefits of good days at work, organisations are now faced with the tough logistical challenge of ensuring every individual has a good workplace experience.

The report suggests the answer is to empower and equip employees to be aware of their own personality and needs. This will then give them the freedom and choice to act upon their specific requirements as part of a positive, supportive culture. So, the organisation takes on the role of enabler, not the all-consuming creator of great experiences – a much more attainable goal.

In order to enable positive experiences, it is critical to understand what factors contribute to having a good day at work. Data from the report highlights six essentials: resources and communication, balanced workload, control, work relationships, job security and change, and job conditions. These factors give employers a holistic view of their work environment, helping them to create focused action around the factors that may compromise employees’ capacity to have a good day.

Take a deeper dive into the Robertson Cooper report in our Innovation Zone.

The theory of everything

The way we behave in office space is not random. Our behaviour is governed by a series of well-established theoretical models and principles. Understanding what those are – and being able to assess their influence – is critical to designing a better fit between people and the work environment.

To help us navigate this area of knowledge, there is a new guide which is required reading. A Handbook of Theories on Designing Alignment Between People and the Office Environment (ed. Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek and Vitalija Danivska, 2021, Routledge, London) covers a  range of  theories from job demands-resources model  and action regulation theory to theories of social constructionism and organisational culture.

You can read more about the handbook in WORKTECH Academy’s Innovation Zone, and if you are an Academy member or partner, you can download your own copy. Details on how your organisation can join the Academy as a Corporate or Community Member here.


If there is one paradigm shift to emerge from the pandemic that cannot be ignored, it is the pivot towards a more people-centric approach to the workplace. This is one of the core themes that will be explored in the upcoming WORKTECH Chicago virtual event on 12-13 October 2021. The conference will focus on future challenges and opportunities in the new world of work; it will explore how companies are engaging with innovative technology to enhance the workplace experience; and it will raise discussions about how organisations can make the office an attractive proposition to employees. Find out more about WORKTECH Chicago 2021 here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our virtual platforms. This edition is posted 18 August 2021.
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