Managers always want their team members to be happy, and why not? Happy employees are known to be more productive. But while many HR departments go to such lengths to make the workplace more conducive for smiling workers, it’s better to just let some be grumpy sometimes.

Studies featured on WeForum note that forcing yourself to leave emotional honesty at home to practice fake happiness at work can be draining on so many levels. Faking happiness doesn’t only hurt your mental health; it can also cause cardiovascular issues.

Oddly, being grumpy can also do wonders to your efficiency: University of New South Wales psychology professor Joseph Forgas reveals that “communication and critical thinking skills can increase when your happiness levels decrease.” 

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This doesn’t mean that being happy is bad. It’s most definitely not, but what this calls for is the acknowledgement that everybody has his or her moods, and that it’s okay to have them.

Moreover, while things that HR do to improve employees’ moods such as movie nights or free food on Fridays are pretty great and well-appreciated, these should not be treated as long-term solutions for satisfaction. These efforts should be paired with an open workplace that promotes transparency and tolerance, as well as one that urges every team member to cultivate and enjoy their personal time away from the office.

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“I think a good balance can be struck where employers develop genuine sympathy and understanding for the non-work issues that employees face, recognizing that they have a life outside of work,” says sociologist, economist, and The Happiness Industry author William Davies. “Employers should try to avoid reducing everything to productivity concerns, and to respect the division between work and life.”

Moral of the story: Be honest with your feelings. Of course that goes to say that as other people respect the space you crave when rain clouds are swirling over your head, you should also respect theirs when they’re having a personal moment. Keep at your work, and don’t be afraid to say no to that team coffee break when you need your time alone. It’s healthier for you, and (as long as you don’t growl at anybody) it’s better for your team to have you release steam rather than suppress it.


H/T: WeForum, Quartz

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