Study Says Being Promised Pizza May Increase Productivity

... Just in case you needed another reason to love pizza.

If you would do anything for a free slice of pizza, you're not alone.

According to a study published in psychologist Dan Ariely's book, Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, promising pizza as an end-of-week reward to employees can increase workplace productivity in a remarkable way. 


Taking place at a semiconductor factory in Israel, Ariely's study involved sending one of three messages to workers at the beginning of the work week. Employees were divided into four groups, with the first promised pizza if they performed well, the second a compliment from the boss, and the third a $30 cash bonus. The last quarter of participants received no incentive. 

After the first day of measuring each employee sector's productivity, pizza was deemed the highest motivator, increasing productivity by 6.7 percent. Still, that was followed closely behind a compliment from the boss with 6.6 percent increased productivity, and the cash bonus came in last with 4.9 percent. 

Over the course of the work week, however, the cash incentive actually decreased productivity by 6.5 percent, while pizza and compliments motivated employees to keep above the baseline set by the control group. Perhaps surprisingly, compliments from the boss ultimately won out over pizza by the end of the week. 

However, according to The Cut, Ariely noted in his book that he believes pizza would've been the highest motivator if his original plan to deliver a pizza to each worker's home had come to fruition. In the book, he writes, "This way [...] we not only would give them a gift, but we would also make them heroes in the eyes of their families."

So while this study doesn't definitively prove that pizza will always increase work productivity, it's certainly worth mentioning to your boss the next time you're feeling peckish.

And if that doesn't work, you could always use Parks and Recreation's April Ludgate fool-proof method of persuasion...

Cover image via Shutterstock

(H/T: Cosmopolitan


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