Brief, positive interventions can help you handle tasks you dislike and negative emails.
New research from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and Trinity Business School has found that taking short, positive distractions can help reduce stress levels when facing difficult tasks.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, demonstrated that short, enjoyable activities like watching a humorous video on YouTube can help individuals cope with daily stressors like negative emails or disliked tasks.
In turn, this allows you to be more engaged, creative, and helpful toward your coworkers.
The research was led by Vera Schweitzer from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.
So, according to this research, the next time you find yourself secretly laughing at a hilarious video your colleague sent to you during the lunch break, you should embrace it. This will help you to recover from a stressful morning and prepare you to make the rest of the day a success.
Professor Vera Schweitzer, a researcher at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, explained: “Our study shows that experiencing feelings of positivity throughout your workday can help you to remain effective particularly when daily work demands require you to invest a lot of self-control, that is, regulatory resources to control your temper.”
She continues, “Trying to stay calm after reading an annoying email, for example, is typically quite depleting for employees. Consequently, they might struggle to demonstrate self-control throughout the rest of their workday, which, in turn, would hamper their engagement, creativity, and behavior toward their colleagues.”
She concludes, “This is where positivity comes into play: Watching a funny video increases feelings of positivity. Such positive emotions allow employees to protect their regulatory resources even after dealing with resource-consuming self-control demands. In turn, this positively affects their effectiveness at work.”
Dr. Wladislaw Rivkin, Associate Professor in Organisational Behaviour, at Trinity Business School, added: “Today’s work environments are increasingly demanding, but we have limited understanding of what organizations and employees can do to prevent the stressful effects of self-control demands such as negative emails or unloved tasks.”
He continues, “Our research shows that short positivity interventions can help employees make the best of their day and that employers and employees should consider incorporating more positivity into the workday! For example, organizations could provide employees with recommendations about short funny videos via a daily newsletter or post a ‘joke of the day’ on the intranet. By doing so, employers can help mitigate the negative effects of self-control demands.”
The researchers gathered their results by examining 85 employees over 12 workdays, who received a daily text- or video-based positivity micro-intervention.
Reference: “Some positivity per day can protect you a long way: A within-person field experiment to test an affect-resource model of employee effectiveness at work” by Vera M. Schweitzer, Wladislaw Rivkin, Fabiola H. Gerpott, Stefan Diestel, Jana Kühnel, Roman Prem and Mo Wang, 13 June 2022, Work & Stress.