BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Market Data 
Economy 
Companies 
E-Commerce 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Unhappy people 'make the best workers'
Comic actor Tony Hancock
Tony Hancock's job prospects never looked better
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.

Comedians

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.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

25 Apr 01 | Business
Daily routine key to happy office
05 Feb 01 | Health
Brain scans spot 'happy thoughts'
21 Feb 01 | UK
Call centre confidential
12 Oct 98 | The Economy
Profiting from happy workers
28 Oct 99 | UK
British workers 'happy'
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories