Finn Wainwright -- September 4th, 2020

The workplace can sometimes be a rough place for employees. Whether it be the stress of meeting deadlines or seeing another employee get a promotion you deserved, there are many ways employees can become less confident or depressed in their work environment. If an employee loses their confidence or becomes depressed, their work productivity and output will start to diminish. This will then have an impact on other employees and possibly the overall company.

Luckily, there is a free, easy solution that every employee can implant in their day to day work life: smiling.

Sounds good to be true? Hear us out on this. There’s a wide range of benefits that smiling can bring to a company’s workplace. Moreover, the benefits don’t solely apply to the person smiling but rather the company as a whole.

The first and most important benefit of smiling at the workplace is that smiling boosts one’s mood.

When we smile, dopamines, endorphins, and serotonin are released from the brain. Serotonin, a major neurotransmitter, transmits happy signals to your brain which leads to happier moods. A study suggests that these happy moods that come from smiling can then help decrease stress. Psychological scientists divided participants up into three separate groups where each group was trained to hold different facial expressions. Next, they were assigned stressful tasks to complete and their heart rate and self-reported stress levels were monitored. The results showed that the group trained to smile had the lowest heart rate after doing the stressful tasks, suggesting that smiling can help the body respond to stress.

When employees have less stress and are happier instead, they end up being more productive and contribute more to the growth of a company. A study conducted at Warwick Business School proved this when they tracked the productivity levels of participants experiencing different levels of happiness. Half the participants were shown a short film to boost their happiness levels while the other half were shown a boring one to keep their happiness levels low. Economist Andrew Oswald stated that “Happier workers, our research found, were 12% more productive. Unhappier workers were 10% less productive”, suggesting that happiness caused by smiling can lead to better work productivity.

Smiling does not only help the person smiling but others around them too because smiling is contagious!

A Swedish study discovered that we mimic the facial expression of those we interact with due to us having an unconscious automatic respoBlackburn Orthodonticsnse area. When we see someone smiling, it’s only our natural reaction to smile back at them. This then boosts our happiness levels and vice-versa others when they see our smile and smile back at us. Therefore, an endless loop of happiness can be formed if everyone in the workplace were to smile.

Networking and conducting business can significantly be helped with smiling too.

We appear more attractive and approachable to others when we smile. By appearing more approachable, business clients/partners are more likely to trust you and will want to work with you. This makes it easier to do business with others and leads to more business opportunities/deals. On the other hand, if you don’t smile and show an unhappy face, there can be a loss of trust which leads to a loss in business. Hence, it’s important to always smile.

I know you might be thinking “I’m not going to be in a public workplace for a while because of COVID”, which is a valid thought. However, companies that are working remote right now are probably using Zoom and the act of smiling can easily be applied when Zooming for work.

Since Zoom is so new, some people who aren’t so tech-savvy are having difficulty adjusting and becoming stressed out to the point where their work productivity is being negatively affected. It’s been proven that smiling can help reduce stress, so it can be used as a tool to help these not so tech-savvy employees calm down and relieve their stress. Once their stress is relieved, they’ll be able to understand and navigate Zoom easier and their work productivity can return.

Also, Zoom provides a unique opportunity for companies because employees see each other’s faces more now than ever before. In the Zoom mode called Gallery Mode, an employee can see the faces of all the members on the Zoom call at once. This is ideal because more people will be able to see each other smiling better and happiness levels will increase overall.

Next time you’re in the workplace or a Zoom call, remember that a little smile can go a long way for both you and your co-workers.

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