Emotions in the Workplace: Purpose & Functions

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Emotions in the workplace are essential indications of a positive or negative job environment. Positive emotions can increase worker motivation and performance, while negative emotions can cause stress and high turnover or absenteeism.

Purpose of Emotions

Emotions are short-lived feelings that are formed specifically from a known occurrence. In the business world, emotions can have a huge impact on the overall morale, productivity and job performance of employees. The purpose of emotions is twofold. They can be used to create a positive work environment or, if neglected, can cause a negative place of work.

Both types of emotions are contagious in the work place, which makes it even more important for managers to have an ability to read employee emotions. Emotional contagion is a way that the emotions of one employee are transferred to another employee via nonverbal channels. Managers need to harness positive emotions - or eliminate negative emotions - at work in order to maintain a healthy work environment. Let's take a look at how positive and negative emotions can influence employees and productivity.

Purpose and Function: Positive Emotions

Nicholas has spent the last two years working at Candy Box Confectionary. He loves developing new flavors of candy for consumers and is lucky to have great coworkers and bosses. The company prides itself on providing motivating factors to create a positive work environment. Employees at Candy Box actually enjoy coming to work.

How does Candy Box achieve this? They provide excellent salary, fantastic benefits, motivation and an overall fun work environment. For example, all employees who are hired by Candy Box are given a salary offer that is 10% higher than the competition. They also get free onsite child care, free soda, food, monthly parties if quotas are hit and four weeks of vacation time. In addition, employees are motivated by weekly and monthly sales contests that result in prizes, such as free gift cards, days off, in-work parties, etc. Lastly, the corporate office has a free gym, dry cleaning and even nap areas to encourage brainstorming.

The results are happy employees with positive emotions resulting from a fantastic work environment. The functions of positive emotions are that employees are extremely productive, motivated and happy. This results in tremendous sales and profits for the company.

Positive emotions in the workplace can also result in improved employee health, which will result in less absenteeism. It has also been shown in studies to improve employees' success in their job due to overall improvement in cognitive functions and psychological health.

Positive emotional contagion results when employees mimic their coworkers' emotions. For example, a happy, prideful employee who is giving and helpful on the job will result in other employees acting the same way. Positive emotions can move through teams and coworkers, and the end result can be cooperation and excellent job performance. Positive emotions are very contagious and can drastically alter the work environment.

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