We take a look at how starting the day on a downer can affect an employee's performance and team morale, but what can an employer do to help improve the mood?
We all get out of bed on the wrong side sometimes and when you’re feeling less than happy then often work is the last place you want to be. It’s also likely that the mood you’re in when you start work in the mornings, be it good or bad, is the mood you will remain in for the rest of the day. Surely it’s in our own interests then, to try to cheer up before the working day begins, after all who wants wallow in misery from morning till night? It’s also in an employer’s interest to cheer up any lacklustre employees as, believe it or not, bad moods can cost money!
Don’t bring it to work
Negative moods affect productivity because a grumpy frame of mind tends to demotivate and demoralise; even when the cause is nothing to do with work. Feeling fed up leads to feeling lethargic, and lowered energy levels make it hard to get stuck in to the daily grind. It would be great to think that a quick fix could prevent this ever happening, but the causes of bad moods are innumerable and impossible to predict. It could be an issue with work that needs tackling, or an argument at home, or a ding in your car. Whatever the cause, the important thing is to find a way to move past it and cheer up.
Taking action to improve a bad mood is the crucial next step, for individuals and for businesses. Nobody really wants to stay miserable, and companies certainly don’t want unhappy employees unable to focus and very likely spreading their negative feelings about the workplace. In fact it’s worth reviewing company policies to see how small changes could actually make a big impact to this sort of scenario. For example, if an employee is struggling to make it into work on time, and the rush and pressure is creating a poor state of mind, then fear of being reprimanded for a tardy arrival will only make this worse and increase the pressure. Finding fair and effective ways to deal with these situations will reduce pressure and help staff to find peace of mind rather than constant levels of stress.
Encourage the feelgood factor
Simple, low-cost activities in the office can really help employees to start the day the right way. Perhaps encouraging staff to take a few minutes to make a drink and have a social chat in the kitchen in the morning will help them to relax. Or a short, motivational team meeting could kick off each day, generating team spirit and focusing on the positives of the tasks ahead. Some companies even introduce exercise into the office environment, perhaps offering a short exercise class at the beginning of the day, or at least encouraging employees to leave their desks for a short walk. Endorphins, released through exercise, are known to boost the feelgood factor. And knowing that you can escape your desk at intervals can, in itself, help to relieve stress and promote positive feelings.
Setting an example
Knowing that our own bad moods can have a knock on effect on our colleagues, it’s not hard to imagine how a manager or supervisor’s negativity could impact an entire team. If a leader is clearly not at their best in the morning then it can be very discouraging for a team, sapping confidence and leaving them with no clear direction. It can also make a manager very unapproachable, which can leave staff with no support if they have questions or need advice, preventing them from getting in with their jobs. Companies need to realise the impact that unhappy managers can have, and provide guidelines and training for them to realise it themselves and adapt their behaviour accordingly. The importance of a manager’s relationship with their staff, and the consequent effects of their own moods upon them, should not be underestimated.
In short, a bad mood can wreak havoc in the office and dealing with it needs to be a priority. Ensuring that the leadership team is equipped to deal with it is a strong first step, whilst implementing small changes in the working environment can support this to create a positive workplace that staff will look forward to entering and enjoy being a part of.
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