I walked into a retail shop recently and immediately noted that the retail attendant’s charismatic, helpful and uplifting greeting had me feeling that a positive shopping experience was ahead. I then overheard another shopper say, “You’ve caught me in a good mood.” The ensuing sale appeared to be a direct result of the retailer’s happy and personable service. It got me thinking, if you’re in a good mood at work does your productivity and quality of work increase?

Many have studied the correlation between mood and productivity and in short, yes, your mood can directly affect your productivity levels in the workplace, both positively and negatively. Think back to a time when a driver in a hurry cut you off and you had to slam your brakes on to avoid an accident occurring. I bet you walked into work with steam pouring out of your ears. It probably took you a lengthy period of time then to find your groove and get through your work, if indeed you did manage to get past your bad mood. Studies identify that many workers who do not shake their negativity produce about ten per cent less work that day.

Expecting employees to check their bad mood at the door is unrealistic, but there are methods one can employ to reset moods that compromise job performance. A change of scenery is a great distraction and for many the easiest way to achieve this is to stop and grab a coffee. An intuitive manager will allow staff five to ten minutes to socialise before they get down to work. Often people with a fresh issue feel better after sharing their negative experience. Venting then leads to being able to refocus and perform well on the job. On the other hand, an employee who is late to work due to unexpected road works is not going to find a way around their bad mood if they are immediately chastised for being late. This tactic will only exacerbate their negative mood that will stay with them for the remainder of the day, impacting others around them in an undesirable way.

Regardless of why an employee appears to have gotten out of bed on the wrong side, acknowledging and resetting moods is imperative to a productive days work. There are many strategies one can employ to reset a mood and it doesn’t always start with tossing them a stress ball. The workplace ambience can see moods swing upwards. Appealing to the senses through smell will enhance attitudes and productivity. Smell is the strongest sense and able to influence brain activity. Some fresh flowers or aromatherapy candles and oils may be enough to calm a worker who has been frazzled by their kids that morning and ultimately arrived at work in an unfavourable mood. On second thoughts maybe something a little stronger than a pleasant smell is needed to distract one from a child induced bad mood. A motivational email or positive feedback on work goals achieved may do the trick. Natural sounds such as water also put us in a positive mood that sees productivity tracking upwards.

Regardless of your strategy, one thing is clear, ignoring the situation does not work. One must engage by acknowledging that an issue exists and provide options to manage and resolve the issue. The onus to turn an employee’s attitude to a productive one doesn’t rest solely with the employer or manage. We are all responsible for the mood in which we arrive at work, so we all must have a strategy in place that we can quickly adopt to make ourselves feel more upbeat. During this cold, wet and gloomy time of year, I suspect moods are less perky and emotions are contagious! Developing the long-term strategy to achieving a corporate culture that sees workers walking into a positive space each day and immediately placing them in a great mood is smart business, taking into consideration the cost of a bad mood to the business. My question therefore is how are you creating a corporate culture that sees workers excited to be at work and positively contributing?

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