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Forbes: 10 Steps To Keep ‘Start Of Workday Blues’ From Hampering Your Job Performance

16 Jul 2020
An AMJ study by Nancy Rothbard and Steffanie Wilk used attitude surveys and detailed performance metrics to investigate how employee mood at work relates to job performance.

Originally found at Forbes, by Bryan Robinson.

Raise your hand if you sometimes get up on the wrong side of the bed and dread the entire workday ahead of you. I thought so. Even if you’re working from home, some days can be hard just getting out of your warm, cozy bed after a long weekend or a late night, especially when it’s cold, gray and rainy.

The ‘Start-Of-Workday” Blues

Studies show that ‘start-of-workday’ moods stay with you all day long and affect job performance and productivity. The more you focus on dread, the more it grows—nibbling away at you like torture from half a million cuts. Neuroscientists say this is based on the mind-body connection. The cells of your body constantly eavesdrop on your thoughts from the wings of your mind. When you have negative thoughts, your cells dump a biochemical cocktail creating dread. If you start the day with dread, it can create depression or anxiety of getting through more demands and deadlines.

A study by Nancy Rothbard and Steffanie Wilk observed a group of customer service representatives (CSRs) in an insurance company’s call center over several weeks. They sent CSRs periodic short surveys throughout the day, assessing their mood as they started the day, how they viewed work events such as customer interactions throughout the day and their mood during the day after those customer interactions. The duo used the company’s detailed performance metrics to investigate how employee mood at work related to their performance.

They found that CSRs varied from day to day in their start-of-day mood, but that those who started out each day happy or calm usually stayed that way throughout the day, and interacting with customers tended to further enhance their mood. On the other hand, employees who started the day in a terrible mood didn’t really climb out of it, and felt even worse by the end of the day—even after interacting with positive customers. The researchers also discovered something they called, “the misery loves company” syndrome. Some CSRs who felt badly at the beginning of the day felt less badly after interacting with customers who were in bad moods. The researchers interpret that finding to mean that when confronted with a customer’s perspective, CSRs felt their own lives weren’t so bad after all.

10 Steps To Sidestep Start-Of-Workday Blues

When you broaden your perspective and consider possibilities, you can sidestep what psychologists call a negative “start-of-workday mood” and begin and end on an upswing. There are 10 mindful tips that can help you widen your perspective from the narrow mental lens that creates dread.

Continue reading the original article at Forbes.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

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