Changing a negative mood into positive energy at work

Having conflicts at home can leave employees in a bad mood, but they can boost their mental wellbeing by finding connections at the workplace.
By: | December 21, 2022

While unresolved conflict at home can negatively impact an employee’s mood and energy at work, it can also serve as a valuable tool to help the employee, according to new research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

The research found that employees who had “uncivil” pre-work interaction coped by offering help to their colleagues, both personally and professionally. One study of 226 employees found that those who recalled uncivil interactions were more depleted or in a worse mood than those who recalled civil ones.

Another study examined 111 dual-income couples, whereby one partner was observed for their mood and how much they helped others during the workday and the other was asked whether they had “instigated incivility” before work. Those whose partners started a fight with them that morning reported that they were both in a bad mood at work and helped others more.

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Commenting on the study, Brandon Smith, a Career Coach and Founder of The Workplace Thought, said, “Those people at home are feeling a lack of competence, confidence, and connection. When they get into work, that’s what they are looking for.”

Offering counsel to co-workers on a personal matter can help employees feel validated in a way they are not experiencing at home, Smith said. Helping with work-related tasks, on the other hand, does not provide this validation, he added.