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Why it pays to smile at work — literally

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 5:15 p.m. MDT

Companies may be reluctant to admit their offices are anything less than pleasant, but incivility — think belittling barbs or gruff responses — can lead to lost productivity, creativity and talent. (Shutterstock) Companies may be reluctant to admit their offices are anything less than pleasant, but incivility — think belittling barbs or gruff responses — can lead to lost productivity, creativity and talent. (Shutterstock)

In her article “How to Disarm a Nasty Co-Worker: Use a Smile” that appeared in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Rachel Feintzeig indicated a growing number of employers are associating consistent productivity with workplace civility.

“Companies may be reluctant to admit their offices are anything less than pleasant, but incivility — think belittling barbs or gruff responses — can lead to lost productivity, creativity and talent,” Feintzeig reported. “As employees who are forced to do more work with fewer resources become more stressed, the rudeness is ramping up. So firms are urging staffers to play nice. …

“Some organizations are setting rules to foster friendliness. At Louisiana's Ochsner Health System, employees are required to follow the ‘10/5 rule,’ making eye contact with anyone within 10 feet and greeting anyone within five feet. There is also a ‘no venting’ rule; a nurse upset about a missing chart … has to retreat to a ‘safe zone’ — such as a private nursing-manager's office — to express frustration.”

Two of the companies Feintzeig spotlighted for their emphasis on employee morale are Dish Network (summertime concerts, softened attendance policy) and Southwest Airlines (an entire department dedicated to sending employees supportive notes).

On the website Borneo Post Online, career guidance consultant Priscilla Hiu wrote an article Thursday that said, “Relationships have a great impact on our job and our growth in the company. Positive relationships contribute greatly to our progress and our ability to achieve recognition for our accomplishments.”

Hiu offered six focus areas for cultivating positive workplace relationships: speak and act positively; collaboration; sharing; be supportive; appreciation; and openness.

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company