Pessimists are often more productive, make fewer mistakes, and have better communication skills than their positive colleagues, because most of them would rather dedicate their free time to something more productive, and write paper, than sip tea and chat with colleagues in the kitchen.

Progressive employers often believe that a productive successful team is an office full of positive, smiling people. However, researchers have found that if you make employees look more upbeat and cheerful than they really feel, you can achieve the opposite result – emotional exhaustion and withdrawal into themselves. Women are particularly affected because they are more likely to be expected to be happy and joyful.

Tyranny of the work productivity

The mass craze for a positive work attitude appeared not so long ago under the influence of research on the relationship of employee productivity to their good mood. It would seem that attempts to increase employee satisfaction should benefit both workers and management. However, corporate happiness strategies lead quite quickly to undesirable results.

Depending on where you work, attempts to boost your morale can look a variety of ways, from Friday night pizza to mandating that employees in the office cafeteria pretend to be happy from early in the morning until late at night. In the long run, such superficial manipulative techniques will accomplish nothing, since they quickly become habitual and cease to impress.

Sometimes even really good intentions-such as being able to work from home can lead to a weakening of the boundaries between work and private life. This is dangerous in that the unspoken ban on personal emotion will spread to all areas of life.

The right balance can be struck when the employer tries to create a warm work environment while understanding that employees have lives outside of work that inevitably affect their moods. There is no need to put everything on the altar of productivity while losing respect for employees’ personal lives.

The need to portray joy for long periods of time is fraught with physical and mental health problems ranging from depression to cardiovascular disease.

The researchers concluded that a strained duty smile spoils the mood of its owner and can even lead to the fact that a person wants to quit work. It was also noticed that for women it is harder to suppress negative emotions than for men.

On the benefits of frowning

While positivity increases productivity, irritability and skepticism also have plenty of benefits.

Frustration is a mild alarm signal that informs us that we are faced with an unfamiliar and potentially problematic situation. As a result, we subconsciously become alert and focused.

An angry person tends to distinguish between strong and weak arguments better than a neutral person. This is due to the fact that irritation triggers the mechanisms of the analytical processing of information.

Anger can be the impetus for unconventional solutions. In small doses, anger stimulates creativity, and this is because there is a lot of energy in anger.

However, the burst of creativity triggered by anger is not always long-lasting. Anger is a very exhausting emotion. Therefore, angry people are able to generate interesting ideas quickly, but not for long.

Girl, smile

Alas, gender inequality extends to the right to express their own emotions. We often see moody men in high positions. Women, on the other hand, have to balance on a knife-edge. On the one hand, few people would want to entrust a responsible job to an overly emotional lady.

For example, a group of researchers from Munich Technical University found that women who exude excessive cheerfulness are less likely to get high positions. On the other hand, an aggressive, impenetrable careerist is also unlikely to be successful with the team, bosses and business partners.

Women who suppress their true emotions often feel unhappy. This is especially common among women in the service and customer support professions.

The effort that women in these fields have to put into controlling their own emotions in order to put others in the right mood is called emotional labour. Basically, this means double work: they not only technically perform their duties, but also exploit their femininity.

The burden of emotional labour falls mostly on working-class women. It’s easier for highly skilled female employees to reclaim their right to be moody than for women in the service industry.

The game of positivity is not worth the candle

All employees (and especially women) benefit when their emotional state is not dictated by management and when they are not manipulated for the company’s benefit.

No matter how much effort supervisors make to get their teams in a positive mood, it won’t make anyone work faster or better in the long run. A sullen professional is just as good as a cheerful professional and is certainly more valuable than a satisfied dilettante.

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