Grumpy Employees Are Productive Employees II

Tracking back a Google search from someone who landed on my post of the other day about grumpy employees led me to this supporting evidence, from the BBC in 2001. The evidence against chirpy people is mounting.

Link: BBC News | BUSINESS | Unhappy people ‘make the best workers’.

Unhappy in your work?

Well that’s exactly how your boss will want it from now on, according to new research from Canada.

Psychologists from the University of Alberta found miserable people make better workers than happy ones.

Cheerful people waste too much time trying to maintain their happy mood, while their dour co-workers simply get on with the task in hand, the project found.

The findings put a question mark over the millions spent each year on ensuring a happy working environment.


Some companies even hire comedians to keep their employees smiling.

But if the Canadian research is right, they are wasting their money.

Grumpy, of Disney’s The Seven Dwarves
Grumpy: rarely whistled while he worked
The researchers, led by psychologists Robert Sinclair and Carrie Lavis, studied four groups of workers building circuit boards on a production line.

Although those who described their mood as ‘sad’ did not produce any more work, they made half as many mistakes as happy workers – so fewer of their products failed quality control tests.

The study also found miserable people used work to distract themselves from their mood.

While happy people were more likely to regard work as an unwanted distraction – and a source of unhappiness.

The findings fly in the face of previous research on the subject, which suggests happy workers are more productive.

If it catches on, it could also spell the end for bonding weekends, company songs and other attempts at corporate jollity – something that could put a smile on the face of the most stony-faced employee.

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