Smile like you mean it

By at home

If you’re having a bad day and find yourself forcing a smile while you’re at work, you could be making yourself more miserable – especially if you’re a woman…

Covering up your bad mood with a fake smile to keep customers and colleagues could be making you feel unhappier and even affect your work productivity – but if you’re genuinely grinning with glee, you’ll get a lot more done on the job, say experts.

The research was led by Dr Brent Scott, a psychologist at Michigan State University in the US, who said employers should think twice before forcing staff to fake a smile when dealing with the public. He said: "Bosses may think that getting their staff to smile is good for the organisation, but that’s not necessarily the case."

"Smiling for the sake of smiling can lead to emotional exhaustion and withdrawal, and that’s bad for the organisation."

During the study, Dr Scott and his team of experts looked at a group of bus drivers over a fortnight and analysed the effects of surface acting (fake smiling) compared to deep acting (genuine happiness). They found that workers who put on a bright face despite feeling low, withdrew more from their work and felt unhappier.

Interestingly, women’s moods and efficiency in the workplace suffered more if they put on a bright face, however, the team did not explore the reasons behind this.

What do you think? Do we have an obligation to our co-workers to smile? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, talk to us on Twitter or write on our Facebook wall!  

Image: JANO/DPA/Press Association Images

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