The daily mood of workers can influence companies' competitive advantage over others, a new study published in the Journal of Product Innovation Management revealed.
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University identified various types of daily workplace experiences that can affect employees' creative performance.
The team evaluated more than 11,000 surveys where workers shared their daily work experiences and judged their workdays on several factors that inhibit and stimulate creativity.
Assistant Professor Alexander McKay, PhD, one of the proponents of the study, said they researched how employees' work environments and their creativity ebbs and flows over time. It showcases how workers can go through distinct daily workplace experiences that map onto their creative potential.
Read more: Beware the trend of 'quiet quitting'
Researchers found five dimensions that create unique daily workplace experiences:
The study found that toxic days are low in stimulant factors such as organisational support and freedom. Still, it is high in obstacle factors such as conservative attitudes and time pressures. Toxic days are rife with conflict but are uncommon – only making up 8% of workdays.
The second dimension is disengaged days – low in both stimulant and obstacle factors. People are disengaged during these days, which make up about 10% of workdays.
Read more: What's hurting your team productivity?
The third dimension is the typical days – with average levels of obstacle and stimulant factors. This dimension is the most commonly occurring dimension, with 34% of workdays.
The fourth dimension is ideal days – high in stimulant factors and low in obstacle factors. Moderate levels of time pressure remained, however. But ideal days are the opposite of toxic days and comprise 30% of workdays.
Lastly, the fifth dimension is crisis days – high in obstacle and stimulant factors. They are a combination of toxic and ideal days. This comprised 19% of all workdays. According to the survey, crisis days consisted of "good conflict", where employees debated and wrestled with critical problems about work.
These findings revealed that workers had a high creative performance on ideal days. Creative performance, however, is hindered during toxic days and disengaged days. The presence of creative stimulants motivates people by creating a positive atmosphere where employees can be creative.
"As many contemporary organisations will attest, this is an area that is increasingly important for companies to develop a distinct competitive advantage," said Associate Professor Mayoor Mohan, PhD, one of the study's researchers.