Bad day at work? Blame your colleagues

A bad office atmosphere is apparently the main cause of unhappy workers. And vice-versa, presumably.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

UK workers think a negative atmosphere in the office is the principal cause of a bad day at work, according to Best Companies. The engagement specialist has just done a survey of 3,000 UK workers, and atmosphere came out ahead of other annoyances like boring work, tyrannical bosses, or even psychotic customers. According to the authors, the onus is on company bosses to nip any such problems in the bud – or presumably they’re only going to fester and get worse...

We’ve all had them – days when everything seems to go wrong, from the moment you leave the house in the morning. Generally speaking on these days, we can’t wait to get home and start afresh the next morning. Naturally, this isn’t great for your employer, because once you’ve written the day off, you’re not going to be much use. So it follows that the more bad days your staff have, the less productive the company’s going to be. And since a negative atmosphere affects pretty much everyone (as opposed to a complaining customer, say, for which one poor sucker generally bears the brunt), it’s easy to see how damaging this could be.

So how do you ensure a happy office (other than through the regular perusal of light-hearted yet educational business-related lunchtime email bulletins)? Well, that’s the zillion-dollar question, and if there was an obvious answer, we wouldn’t have any need for about half the business books on the market.

But according to Best Companies, there are two easy things you can do. First, try and weed out any bad apples – those who whinge and moan and generally spread ill-feeling among the troops (you know the ones). Second, keep showing your staff how much you appreciate it when they do a good job. ‘Simply saying thank you will go a long way to ensuring that people don’t feel taken for granted,’ says BC boss Jonathan Austin plaintively.

Maintaining a positive atmosphere in the office is obviously more of an art than a science. But if you get it right, it can pay dividends – as the Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list shows. 86% of staff at the top ten firms said they were thanked or praised regularly, while three-quarters of engaged employees said they had fun with their colleagues (for disengaged staff, the equivalent figure was just 18%). So it’s worth spending a good deal of management time getting it right...

In today's bulletin:
Business spending slumps to record low - but GDP revised upwards
Tory council adopts 'no frills' approach to spending
Bad day at work? Blame your colleagues
SMEs hung up on taking telephone calls
Celebrate in style, with YouTube

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