Getting Up on the Wrong Side of Bed Can Wreck Your Whole Work Day

Wrong Side of Bed When a day starts out bad, it just gets worse, according to a recent study that showed workers who get up on the wrong side of the bed pretty much stay on the wrong side of happy for the rest of the day.

The research, conducted by Steffanie Wilk, associate professor of management and human resources at Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business, studied telephone customer service representatives. It showed that employees' moods when they first arrived at work affected how they felt the rest of the day. Moods early in the day were linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers' moods.

Search Job Openings

In Partnership With

The research found that this escalates when it's the manager who arrives at work in a grumpy mood. Supervisors' attitudes had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.

"We saw that employees could get into these negative spirals where they started the day in a bad mood and just got worse over the course of the day," said Wilk. "That's why it is so important for companies to find ways to help their workers start off the day on the right foot."

Even if you wake up crabby and have a horrible commute to work, all is not lost, however. The study found that while the start-of-the-day mood sets a tone, employees' moods could and did change, according to Wilk. And the good news is that employees were more likely to see a bad move improved, than a good mood ruined.

In 17 percent of the cases studied, employees who started the day with a higher positive mood than normal would later slide to a below-average mood after a difficult call. But in 40 percent of the cases the opposite occurred: an employee in a below-average mood moved into an above-average mood after a positive call.

But surprisingly enough, negative customers didn't do further damage to the spirits of employees who were already in a bad mood. "We call it the 'misery loves company' effect," Wilk said. "If you're in a bad mood, it seems to help to talk to someone else who is feeling as bad as you are. Maybe the employees were able to blow off some steam by reacting to rude customers."

Wilk believes it would be more effective for employers to reward and sustain positive moods, rather than to punish or penalize negative moods. "If you've had a rough commute and you have to rush to your desk, and you know you're going to be in trouble, that's not a good way to start your workday. Once an employee starts that way, it could have negative consequences for the company the whole day," she concludes.


Next: Companies Hiring This Week


Related Stories from Ask Men


Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

4 Comments

Filter by:
Sir

Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed (rough sleep, stiff something). And I'll feel shitty. That's why I use (que music) "Marijuana"! It's super effective at relieving my pseudo-hangovers (and real ones too!). Call your local dealer today!

April 06 2011 at 9:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kv37

Maybe all they need is an attitude change.

April 06 2011 at 4:34 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ET

Whatever movement of energy one picks up can be reversed. Humans are walking magnets. We take in positive and negative electrons through our nostrels that operate on one hour shifts. Eat liver now and then, lots of iron for the blood, so we 'work'. We also pick up clouds of crap by well-intending enemies that should be cleared by a shower, you can yell but you look like a lunatic or say what I use, return to sender, that works. However you can clear the bad energy that encircles your waking hours, get it the f out of your way before you interact with any one else in the world. Meet them with a smile because you're smarter than that and much happier in the new cycle.

April 06 2011 at 3:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Badmotorfinger

This is how to work efficent. 44%...bell curve this, statistical link that, pollute the earth to make stuff. Your children will foot the bill. Need more energy, build more nuclear plants. Oh hellz it just melted down. The point of this mindless work, not sustenance, distraction, slavery, err growth, capitalism good, communism baddddd!!!!!!! errrrrrrr. Dont be a communist, get a job and wh_re out on the weekends! Dont want that baby? abort it, abortions give people jobs. cool! Youre house, your car, your trash will outlive you. A monument to prove you existed. That turd was !HUGE! RIP!

April 06 2011 at 3:20 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
puttytatman@aol.

I am concerned about articles such as this and how the heck they get posted. This is all common sense stuff....nothing new here.

April 05 2011 at 8:53 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

July 20 - July 27

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.

×

Check out our new Map Search

Locate your next job using the new AOL Jobs Map Search!

Pin down your next great opportunity today.