How Do Unhappy Employees Affect Co-Workers?

When you're unhappy at work, your negativity spreads.
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When you work with people who are unhappy all the time it can get to be a real bummer. A person's mood often acts like a virus by spreading from person to person. Just like when you walk into a room where two people just had a fight, you can feel the tension in the room and sense that something's not right. The same thing applies to unhappy people – when you spend too much time around them it starts to bring you down too.

Reduced Morale

    Unhappy workers usually hate to come to work. They have an issue with their manager or are deeply angered or frustrated about their jobs. These people are usually impatient or snippy with others and make work a drag. Hanging around them for any length of time might get you to question whether you like your job. Unhappy employees – if left alone – generally affect the morale of the whole office. Negativity spreads if left unchecked and other employees might begin to exhibit unhappiness as well.

Low Productivity

    When morale drops in the office, so does productivity. Unhappy workers are typically less productive than others, which can affect the productivity of the whole office. Unhappy employees might try to hide their low productivity by staying longer in the office, which places co-workers in danger of catching the negative attitude with continued exposure. These people often realize their state of mind, but may not have the means to resolve their feelings. Unhappy people are not motivated to do more than what is asked of them and often fail at meeting simple work standards. Co-workers might adopt their bad habits.

Clashes and Complaints

    When unhappy employees are left to stew in their own juices, personality clashes can happen in the workplace. Co-workers are usually aware there is a problem with another worker and might begin to complain about the person to management. Co-workers that don't have the same point of view as the unhappy employee might have trouble getting along with that person. Soon, most everyone will try to find a way to avoid working with the unhappy person or even being near her just to avoid the conflict.

Work Environment

    The work environment is affected by these employees. When left unchecked, angry and frustrated employees might be viewed by co-workers as having an inside track with management. Co-workers begin to think that the unhappy employee is a 'favorite' and that's why nothing is being done to correct the problem. Resentment develops among co-workers because the unhappy person appears to do what she wants without recourse.

Dealing with the Unhappy Employee

    As a supervisor, take the time to find out what is making the unhappy employee feel that way. There might be a problem at home or she might be bored in her job and see no chance to advance. By allowing the unhappy worker to give voice to her feelings in the correct outlet, it might help to resolve the situation. As a co-worker of an unhappy employee, do your best to stay positive and offer a compassionate ear.

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