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​Pizza Can Make You More Productive At Work, According To Science

Jess Hardiman

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​Pizza Can Make You More Productive At Work, According To Science

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

While you should all be maintaining the illusion that you love your jobs no matter what ('I love my boss! Yes, I'd love to stay late every day this week! Nah, don't bother with a pay rise!'), there's no denying that a little incentive here and there works wonders.

But while many employers dish out some decidedly naff treats like company-branded pens, gift cards for DIY shops or even just a pat on the back, it seems there's one, very simple thing that they're all forgetting.


According to a study from a book by psychologist Dan Ariely, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, pizza could be the key to increasing productivity in the workplace.

In the study, Ariely took a bunch of employees who assembled computer chips in a technology company in Israel and tested them to see which of several incentives made them work harder.

At the beginning of the week, each participant was sent one of three texts - one promising pizza, one a cash bonus to the equivalent of £20 ($27) and one saying they'd get a rare compliment from the boss via text if they hit each day's targets. Some workers also received no message, so that they could act as the control group for general productivity levels.

After the first day, pizza came out on top as the best motivator, increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group. Those who received a compliment from the boss, meanwhile, improved their productivity by 6.6 percent, so not far off. Pizza and flattery, who'd have thought?

Somewhat surprisingly, the worst motivator in the experiment was the cash bonus - increasing productivity by just 4.9 percent.

As the week went on, compliments eventually won out over pizza, but the New York Times notes that Ariely believed pizza would have come first, had they gone with his original plan for the pizza to be delivered to workers' homes.

"This way [...] we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families," Ariely explained in the book.

Ultimately, if there's any concern that the margins are too narrow on whether pizza or all-out flattery is the best motivator, we're more than happy to accept both - along with that £20 cash incentive, just to be on the safe side.

Sure, we'd all become cholesterol-ridden and arrogant in no time, but we'd also be hella productive. Swings and roundabouts and all that.

Topics: Science, Food, Interesting, Pizza

Jess Hardiman
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