Had A Bad Day: The Effects Of Mood On Work Performance

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This is interesting. It turns out that getting a bad start in the morning can have an impact on your productivity. It isn't particularly surprising, but at the same time I think it is an idea we don't pay enough attention.

The researchers found that both positive and negative moods affect employee productivity, but that positive moods are more potent. Most importantly, they discovered, the mood you bring with you to work has a stronger effect on the day's mood — and on work performance — than mood changes caused by events in the workplace.

Nothing is worse than sitting at work and being preoccupied with something personal. It is difficult to focus and makes you unproductive. That is why I think nice little perks and flex time can do wonders for employee productivity. Sure, at some firms they only pay lip service to the idea. You can take off mid-day if you need to but ithen you are treated like a slacker.

In the long run, encouraging vacations, rest, and taking care of personal business puts people in better moods and makes them more productive when they are working. And a productive employee does more in two hours than an unproductive one does all day.

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  1. laurence haughton's Gravatar Comment by laurence haughton on August 1st, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    I’ll bet the most influential factor on a teammate’s mood at the start of the day is what happened yesterday (or over the past couple of weeks).

    More interesting research from Ohio State. I’ll file this under “Hot Teams.”

  2. Lewis Green's Gravatar Comment by Lewis Green on August 1st, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    I completely agree with you. But not only does it affect the individual’s perform when he/she is having a bad day, it can affect the brand, if that individual touches customers or vendors and their bad mood reflects upon their customer service.

  3. Noel Jensen's Gravatar Comment by Noel Jensen on August 1st, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    Another worthwhile post from Rob. I’ve got a list of attributes that I read to myself every morning to remind me of who I am. And no, mopey isn’t on the list!

    Noel Jensen
    Blogtip: http://noeljensen.com/?p=29

  4. Rob's Gravatar Comment by Rob on August 2nd, 2006 at 9:20 am

    Laurence,
    That’s an interesting expasion of the idea that I hadn’t considered. It makes sense, and it highlights how a negative work environment can build on itself in a nonlinear fashion.

  5. Bill's Gravatar Comment by Bill on August 2nd, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Have you looked at the role of prayer groups within organizations? And to what extent can or does the work place foster a climate for spiritual growth and development?

  6. Lewis Green's Gravatar Comment by Lewis Green on August 2nd, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Bill,

    Perhaps it is an anomaly, but the corporations I served all had prayer groups. If anything, those who participated within the groups were quicker to recover from negative moods and exhibited great attitudes of increased loyalty and productivity. On behalf of full disclosure, I use personal prayer everyday and have been doing so for the past 15 years. Prior to introducing prayer into my daily life, my sour moods were more frequent and lasted longer.

  7. Ellen Weber's Gravatar Comment by Ellen Weber on August 3rd, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    Interesting post… Thanks Rob, I wonder if the reason we’ve paid less attention to this problem is because people have not known how to turn a bad mood around. What you you think?

  8. Dr Eddy Kloprogge's Gravatar Comment by Dr Eddy Kloprogge on August 29th, 2006 at 4:09 am

    The mood in which you enter the workplace may well be influential on your work performance, the mood you leave the workplace may well be influential on your social life. It is the “border crossing” from one (environmental) system into another, wher written and unwritten rules are not the same. Moods are nothing more than expression of feelings that do not rely on those exernal system rules but more on internal system rules. They differ.

  9. Demothi's Gravatar Comment by Demothi on June 15th, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I think it’s just as important to allow some employee freedom within the work day – this gives employees not only some relaxation time, but the ability and avenue to vent off some steam if it’s a particularly bad day.

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