Employees bring bad moods home, but they disappear by morning

December 02, 2004

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- A good night's sleep may be the remedy for a bad day at work, suggests a new University of Florida study on the unexplored relationship between job satisfaction and the shifting moods of employees.

Employees who have stressful days bring their negative moods home with them at night, but in most cases they disappear by morning, said Timothy Judge, a UF management professor who did the research.

"The boundaries between work and family are pretty permeable, and this is one more piece of evidence that people do tend to take their work home," said Judge. "The one comfort is that the effect is short-lived and gone by the next day."

The findings can give insight to employers trying to develop workplace environments that lead to enjoyment and satisfaction on the job, which boosts employee performance, said Judge, whose results are published in the August edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

"If employers care about the work-family balance achieved by their employees -- and there is reason to believe that they should -- they can contribute to positive moods in both work and family life by the way they treat employees," he said. "For employees, this spillover effect provides further evidence of the importance of being in a satisfying job. As far as we know, no one has ever looked at the spillover of job attitudes to mood at home that same day, and then followed it the next day (at work) as well."

Judge and Remus Ilies, a management professor at Michigan State University, in Lansing, surveyed 55 UF employees who had access to both a computer at work and at home. The participants were selected through an e-mail letter soliciting participation sent to a random sample of employees listed in the university e-mail directory. The sample included personnel with typical administrative positions, such as secretary and office manager.

The participants logged on to a Web page, and completed job satisfaction surveys and mood surveys at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. each day during working hours for two weeks, as well as once each night during the evening hours at home.

To assess mood, participants used a six-point scale ranging from "not at all" to "extremely much" to report how strongly they felt about statements such as "right now each minute of work seems like it will never end," and "right now I find real enjoyment in my work."

The study found the amount of spillover employees experienced both at home and work depended on whether they were introverts or extroverts. Extroverts were more likely to go home and talk about the day's experiences than were introverts, who tended to keep their frustrations bottled up, he said.

"There is evidence to suggest that introverts do this because they are naturally more stimulated, and so need less environmental stimulation and social interaction," he said. "Extroverts are deficient in this and need more stimulus. They actually perform better on tests if they have caffeine."

Judge said he did the study because he believes the emotional experience at work is important to many employees and should be to employers as well, because research is showing that emotions experienced at work have repercussions for employee behavior on the job, such as helping other employees and customers.

Fortunately, most surveys reveal that people are relatively pleased with their jobs, Judge said. In general, research has shown that employees are satisfied with their jobs on average about 70 percent to 80 percent of the time, he said.

Expressing how one's day has gone may provide a catharsis for people, Judge said. By getting things off their chests, they are able to deal with them and move on, he said.

"We know that moods are fairly ephemeral or fleeting so that even though we are affected by these experiences, our mind has the ability to digest them and reset by the next day," he said.

Susan Seitel, president of Work and Family Connection, a Minnetonka, Minn., company that helps employers create supportive and effective workplaces, said Judge's study confirms that the work-personal life link is "unmistakable."

"We've always known that when a person brings home the stress of his or her work day, there's an impact," Seitel said. "Things don't go smoothly when mom or dad aren't relaxed; relationships suffer, kids react, people are hurt and angry. The result is more stress." She said companies can help by giving employees "more flexibility, more control over how, where and when work is done, and by being clear about what a day's work really is."
-end-
Writer: Cathy Keen, 352-392-0186, ckeen@ufl.edu
Source: Timothy Judge, 352-392-8433, tjudge@ufl.edu

University of Florida

Related Job Satisfaction Articles from Brightsurf:

Job interest not a big predictor of job satisfaction
Interest in an occupation matters, but not as much as you might think when it comes to job satisfaction.

Researchers take a stand on algorithm design for job centers: Landing a job isn't always the right goal
Algorithms that assess the risk of citizens becoming unemployed are currently being tested in a number of Danish municipalities.

Coronavirus volunteers: Greater satisfaction thanks to online platforms
Shortly after the lockdown began, a huge number of volunteers signed up to help people in coronavirus risk groups - primarily via online platforms.

Improved work environments enhance patient and nurse satisfaction
Healthcare provider burnout is a mounting public health crisis with up to half of all physicians and one in three nurses reporting high burnout, data show.

Hospitality, not medical care, drives patient satisfaction
Patients' ratings of hospitals and willingness to recommend them have almost no correlation to the quality of medical care provided or to patient survival rates, according to new Cornell University research.

Practice characteristics and job satisfaction among GPs in 11 countries
Organizational and functional features of general practitioner practices in 11 countries were studied in search of underlying reasons for job dissatisfaction.

Individuals with obesity get more satisfaction from their food
A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found no significant difference in taste perceptions between participants of normal weight and those who were overweight.

An hour or two of outdoor learning every week increases teachers' job satisfaction
A Swansea University study has revealed how as little as an hour a week of outdoor learning has tremendous benefits for children and also boosts teachers' job satisfaction.

Feeling valued, respected appear most important for job satisfaction in academic medicine
A survey of physicians in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Medicine finds that feeling valued, being treated with respect and working in a supportive environment were the factors most strongly associated with job satisfaction.

Sexual satisfaction among older people about more than just health
Sexual satisfaction among older people about more than just health.

Read More: Job Satisfaction News and Job Satisfaction Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.