Now There’s Scientific Proof That Pizza Boosts Productivity at Work

Business team eating pizza in office sitting around the table
G81TAK Business team eating pizza in office sitting around the table
Photograph by Tatiana Badaeva — Alamy Stock Photo

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Pizza is more powerful than money—at least, that’s what science says. According to a study cited in Duke Professor Dan Ariely’s upcoming book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, workers in a factory increased their output by 6.7% when promised pizza. In fact, the pizza reward beat out both money and praise in productivity increase. Yeah, OK, we get the praise thing—you can keep your compliments and pleasantries, give me a corner slice of Sicilian, thanks—but why turn down money?

In a 2013 interview aired on PBS, Ariely explained the context of the rewards—positing that since the pizza would be delivered to the workers’ homes, it would make them seem “like heroes in the eyes of their families.” He also explained that factory productivity was measured over the course of a few days, during which researchers found that the workers promised a financial reward significantly dropped in productivity after the bonus evaluation period ended: “When you condition people on money, all of a sudden when money is not offered, you say, ‘I work for money. You’re not offering me money? I’m not working very hard.”


All this said, we strongly recommend applying pizza motivation to your own lives. Try it on your spouse and your children, too, because why not. Here’s a slideshow of to-die-for pizza to get you started. To make your own pizza at home, consider working with one of these four DIY crusts. Look for toppings inspiration? Here are 28 of our favorites—including this home-run five-star recipe (reviewed by 2,900 people!) for pizza Margherita. Are you motivated yet?

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