What motivates you at work? You may think the promise of a hefty bonus, or even extra vacation days, would make you work harder. But according to a study by British psychologist Dan Ariely, the promise of a food reward — specifically pizza — actually makes us the most productive at work. Ariely explains this concept in his book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations.
In his study, Ariely observed a computer chip company in Israel and tried out three different types of rewards on employees: food, praise, and a small bonus. One group was sent a text or email of praise from their boss at the end of the day, another received a $30 bonus, and the third got a free pizza voucher. A fourth control group received no reward.
The pizza group increased productivity by 6.7 percent, the group receiving compliments increased productivity by about 6.6 percent, and surprisingly, the cash bonus group only became 4.9 percent more productive. At the end of the week, the cash bonus group actually decreased productivity by 13.2 percent, behind even the control group.
Interestingly enough, the cash bonus group could have just bought pizza with their reward.
You know what they say: mo’ money, mo’ problems; mo’ pizza, mo’ productivity at the office.