Keeping busy in the bedroom could be the key to keeping you happy at work, new research suggests.
A study recently published in the Journal of Management revealed that employees who have healthy sex lives at home have increased job satisfaction and are more engaged in their work.
The research discovered that following days in which they had sex, employees were more likely to immerse themselves in their tasks and enjoy their work more.
Keith Leavitt, one of the study's authors and a professor at Oregon State University, said sexual intercourse is a natural and automatic mood elevator because it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centers in the brain, as well as oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment. He said those benefits extend well into the next day. [See Related Story: Want Happy Employees? Make Hiring Harder]
"We make jokes about people having a 'spring in their step,' but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” Leavitt said in a statement. "Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for."
For the study, researchers surveyed 159 married employees twice a day for two weeks. They found that workers who had sex reported being in better moods the following day. That improved mood resulted in more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the day.
The researchers found that the positive impact tended to remain for at least 24 hours. Overall, the effects of sex were equally strong for both men and women and were present even after researchers took into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality.
"This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority," Leavitt said.
The research also discovered that the correlation between work happiness and stress tends to be a two-way street. The study shows that bringing work-related stress home at night can negatively impact employees’ sex lives.
With so many employees constantly connected to their work via smartphones and laptops, Leavitt said the study shows the importance of not always being plugged in.
"Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it’s probably better to unplug if you can," he said. "And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours."
In the end, Leavitt believes the research shows just how beneficial maintaining a healthy sex life can be for workers.
"Making a more intentional effort to maintain a healthy sex life should be considered an issue of human sustainability, and as a result, a potential career advantage," Leavitt said.
The study was co-authored by Christopher Barnes, an associate professor at the University of Washington; Trevor Watkins, a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington; and David Wagner, an associate professor at the University of Oregon.