Research Says Pessimism Increases Productivity [Video]


It has been a long-held belief that a positive attitude in the workplace is a sign that an employee is productive, confident, and satisfied. However, a number of research revealed that suppressing emotions in the workplace is counterproductive. In other words, pessimism makes a person more productive at work.

Researchers at Technische Universitaet in Munich conducted a study that revealed women who are less cheerful in the workplace gets easily promoted to management positions than those who show optimism. The study also said that pessimistic people commit less mistakes, more productive and have better communication skills than the optimists.

Another research conducted at the University of South Wales said that a person's critical thinking skill increases when his happiness level decreases.

Joseph Forgas, a professor of psychology at the university and the lead author of the study, said that the negative mood serves as a signal that there is a new and problematic situation. Because of this, the brain becomes more analytical and attentive.

So why are companies promoting positivity at work and forcing their employees to act happy?

Sociologist William Davies revealed that this obsession with happiness in the workplace is a new concept which was popularized by studies that link happiness and productivity. Davies said that although it is nice to see employers thinking about how to make their employees happy to the point of instructing them to fake happiness could backfire.

This forced happiness is specifically evident in the service industry from customer service representatives to coffee baristas who are forced to put on a happy face every time they face a customer.

Davies suggested that instead of focusing too much on happiness, employers should not only focus on productivity but have genuine understanding of their employees.

Harvard psychologist and author Susan David speak about the dangers of forced happiness. She said it could lead to serious emotional and health problems, such as depression and cardiovascular problems.

Dieter Zapf, chairman of the work and organizational psychology department of the University of Frankfurt, corroborates these observations through his own research. After interviewing thousands of workers in the customer-service industry, he found out that faking happiness actually leads to burnout, frustration, and depression.

With these strong data backing up that negative emotions are not as harmful as people view them to be, employers should respect their employees if they show up for work grumpy sometimes.

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