In our series on the science behind doing great work, we uncovered how certain environmental conditions — dim lighting, extrinsic motivation, and dedicated time for work and play — and social influences — engaging in meaningful work and feeling connected with your team — have a direct impact on how you work.

It’s no secret that happy, motivated people are more productive and perform better in their jobs. But what makes employees happy and motivated in the first place? To understand how emotions and brain chemistry work together to help you do your best work, we took a close look at emerging research on cognitive science and organizational psychology.


Since it may have been a while since reading through our lessons, we’ve put together a handy-dandy summary of each installment, along with links back to each post in case you want to go back to class — or are joining us for the first time (we’re glad you’re here!).

  1. Motivation

Motivation kicks in when your dopamine levels spike because you anticipate something important is about to happen. Internal and external influences create the dopamine environment, and the brain does the rest. One way to achieve those rewarding experiences is by seeking pleasurable activities and establishing positive work habits.

  1. Work environment

Temperature, lighting, and noise conditions in the office can make or break focus and productivity. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that the characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on employee behavior, stress, and productivity.

  1. Job satisfaction

Employees who find meaning in their job report feeling more satisfied at work. And when you believe that your job has a purpose, you’re motivated to put greater effort into how you perform. Your personal fulfillment at work can drastically improve your team and organization’s performance, too, and give you a much more meaningful experience outside the workplace.

  1. Work-life balance

Maintaining a work-life balance helps reduce stress and prevents burnout in the workplace. By establishing healthy work habits as an employee and prioritizing a balanced work environment as an employer, companies can save money and retain a happier, more productive workforce.

  1. Joy

Finding joy in your work can yield enormous benefits by improving relationships between employees and employers. Engaged and connected workers are not only more creative and efficient in their work, but are also more willing to work together toward common goals essential to your organization’s success.

Invest in tech

Understanding these concepts is critical for improved work output. But integrated technology designed with you in mind makes unlocking better team performance even easier. And is the most powerful new OS tool in the App Store that managers and organizations simply can’t be successful without.

The gamified daily-use app uses Ai to automate feedback, professional development, skill and performance benchmarking, and variable rewards. As a team member, you will complete role-specific and purpose-driven Missions that are designed to improve daily work quality and throughput. Mission performance is measured over time and given a Success Index score that changes from day to day based on real-time feedback, in-app,  actions, and data gathered from integrated systems like Salesforce or Jira. When the score goes up, so do your chances of earning Surprises!

As a team manager, you can help choose Missions and performance goals for your team with the help of Surprise’s world-class research team. From there, our Ai takes the wheel. Surprise’s “set-and-forget” turnkey management software makes it a breeze for teams to achieve their performance goals through a high-dopamine experience. It’s all about harnessing the thrilling, high-impact power of Surprise to do better work, improve execution, and make teams more successful — every single day.

Liv Huntley is a Content Writer at Born in the Midwest, raised on NFL and Miles Davis, and lives on Google Drive. A serious journalist, a not-so-serious copywriter, and a social psychology nerd, she formerly wrote for a women’s magazine and always enjoys a bit of storytelling tomfoolery. You can catch her skiing in the winter and chasing cold climates year-round.