So apparently that bad driver who cut you off on the freeway this morning could have an impact on your whole day, not just your commute. You know how some mornings go: your child refuses to get ready for school, you get stuck in a traffic jam, you spill your Starbuck’s latte on your lap…the possibilities are endless. You finally arrive at work late and hassled. Everyone has bad mornings. But does going to work in a bad mood really affect one’s entire day and undermine productivity in the workplace? A study found the answer is yes. The researchers examined how one’s moods and work interactions affect work performance and mood throughout the day. Since people are not always able to compartmentalize different parts of their lives, there is a natural crossover between your emotional mood and experiences at work.
The study examined 29 customer service representatives at a call center who took an average of 64 calls per day answering customer questions. Throughout the workday, they answered brief surveys that popped up on their computer screens with questions relating to their mood at the start of the day and throughout the day. At the conclusion of the workday, they recorded feelings about levels of job satisfaction and burnout. Additionally, they were asked to describe the moods of their customers and coworkers, ranging from cheerful to hostile.
The results were quite startling. Researchers found that a negative start-of-the-day mood set the framework for the whole day, leading to a poor mood and decreased productivity all day. Conversely, a positive start-of the-day mood led to a more productive, enjoyable workday. Most importantly, the study revealed that the mood you bring with you to work has a stronger effect on your mood throughout the day and on work performance than mood changes caused by events in the workplace. The study also found that your mood may be positively or negatively affected by the attitudes of customers and coworkers. Less-experienced employees in particular were more affected by the negative moods of customers than seasoned employees who had acquired the skills to recognize customer emotion and react objectively.
These findings suggest that business performance might be improved by efforts to help employees cope with difficult events and mood-affecting influences in their lives, such as counseling, legal, financial, and childcare services. And if you’re looking for ways to maximize your productivity at work, consider creating a consistent morning routine that will reduce stress because the mood you bring to work may affect the rest of your day.