Is Low Morale in the Workplace Contagious?

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    • Even workers who ordinarily enjoy their jobs find it difficult to work side-by-side with coworkers who complain all day. Regardless of whether they share their coworker's concerns or issues, the very situation of having to spend all day around someone who is chronically unhappy creates a hostile work environment, making low morale into a contagious condition. Workers who are infected by their coworker's low morale might not be dissatisfied for the same reasons as the person complaining, but they are dissatisfied nonetheless.

    Low Productivity

    • Employees with low morale rarely do a good job. Their lack of enthusiasm often leads to low productivity, which can compromise the profitability of the company as a whole and place an extra workload on coworkers. These situations can spread low morale even among good workers by adding stress and increasing responsibilities. A business whose well-being is in jeopardy as a result of a disgruntled, unproductive employee is a difficult place to work, and an employee who finds himself doing someone else's job is rarely happy at work.

    Employee Relationships

    • It is difficult to work with someone with low morale. If an employee is friends with a coworker with a bad attitude, then he will likely take his friend's negativity seriously enough to share at least some of its suppositions. If an employee dislikes a coworker who has low morale, he probably will find it difficult to work with him. This can compromise even the morale of a worker who might otherwise be perfectly happy at work.

    Role of Management

    • Managers are human beings, and most managers who are working in a difficult situation have difficulty maintaining the morale of their staff. Whether the source of the low morale is a company policy or an individual employee with a bad attitude, ineffective managers are vectors for spreading low morale. But good managers play a role in reversing a situation in which low morale can be contagious, either by isolating or terminating employees whose bad attitudes can become infectious or by creating enough of a positive atmosphere to counter negativity.


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