When a company goes through a bad phase, or during a period of layoffs, a negative atmosphere can sometimes descend on a workplace. How can a good mood be encouraged on the job?
Lower morale, reduced productivity or lack of motivation – there can be many adverse effects resulting from a negative atmosphere in the workplace.
Where does negativity come from?
An unpleasant atmosphere can settle insidiously in a work environment when the words of one or more employees feed the negativity. If not eradicated at the source it can quickly gain momentum.
For Martin Dubé, sales manager in a Montreal media company, a good atmosphere at work is paramount. Yet he has noted several situations where negativity was a part of it. “In my career I have noticed that departures and layoffs of employees without explanations from management most of the time led to corridors rife with rumours,” he says. “Lack of recognition on the part of the bosses also generates bad faith among some of my colleagues, which can tarnish the atmosphere.”
Since a negative atmosphere can impede professional performance, the employer must take the situation seriously. It can, for example, give employees the opportunity to be more involved in making decisions, which will positively influence their work. Recognizing the impact that certain changes in areas such as organization of departments, working hours or pay can have can also reassure workers concerned by providing clear answers to their questions. “In my view, the boss’s role must primarily be through communication. It is important that he is available to rectify erroneous facts that could lead to a negative climate within the team,” Martin Dubé believes.
Using laughter to chase away negativity
Sometimes, to relax the atmosphere, you just have to be humorous! Dedramatizing a situation or a negative atmosphere by using laughter can weave team ties in addition to relieving tensions. While often using jokes at work, Martin Dubé believes however that you have to know how to move on when necessary… “If I feel that my interjections are not welcome, or if the negative behaviour of others may affect my personal life, I just keep my distance.”