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Cranky Co-worker? Embrace their mood to transform your business.

Cranky Co-worker? Embrace their mood to transform your business.


The list of novelty celebration days seems to grow every month and with so many now in existence, it’s often hard to spot the more meaningful days to observe, within such a confusing and growing list, which sometimes feels like it contains a celebration for every single day of the year.

This October 27th people (may) observe ‘Cranky Co-workers Day’, which sounds like a negative event born out of anger, akin to October 23rd, the day of ‘National Slap Your Irritating Co-worker Day’; but the former is less about hate and in fact focusses on mental health awareness to some degree.

Cranky Co-workers day, is a day aimed at letting cranky, unhappy co-workers vent their frustrations and annoyances for the day, to leave them alone to blow off steam, and not to tell them to cheer up or express any negativity or aggression their way.

The day brings attention to the number of stressed workers throughout the country (and beyond) and rather than just laughing this day off, it’s a good time to assess whether you or people you work with have the support and work/life balance required to be happy and productive in all areas of life.

So whether you choose to celebrate this day, or just care about creating a better work/life balance, try these steps for every scenario:

For You:

  • It’s important to be there for the people you see every day, but when looking after others, it’s easy to lose sight of your own problems, with a lack of self-care meaning you are eligible for a breakdown or prolonged period of stress at the least. Spend a few minutes each day with a notepad and quickly scribble down any stressors that come to mind. Until you know what is making you feel down or irate, you can’t take action to fix it.
  • As well as fixing problems at work, you need to look after yourself for all the time you are not at work. As well as journaling and assessing problems at home too, it’s important to stay healthy and get some space. The best idea is to combine both: Gardening, walking, running, yoga, meditation and sports activities with friends are great examples or how you can feel better; as well as giving more balance to work and life.

For Your Employees:

  • Make sure you have regular check-in meetings with every employee, where they feel supported and safe to discuss any issues at work (an informal chat with suggestions always works better than telling someone what to do using overly-formal language).
  • Keep track of any absences, any drop in performance and the general attitude of those employees you are concerned about – these are likely indicators that something is wrong, and it’s time to step in. (This link might be helpful.)

For Your Co-workers:

  • In the spirit of the day, sometimes it’s best just to let people deal with their issues. If ‘cranky co-workers’ are aggressive or unreasonable, their managers will intervene, so if they are just down, try giving them space first of all, letting them speak when they are ready.
  • When co-workers do decide to open up, don’t just tell them it will be OK, because without support, it might not be. Instead, it’s a great idea to look at the resources for support within your business or counselling services in more serious circumstances. Practical actions go a lot further than words alone.

For The Business as a Whole:

  • Fixing individual problems, or helping a single person are both important, intrinsically good things that you can and should do. Even better than that though, you can make changes that benefit everyone. If there are problems which occur frequently at work, it’s crucial you raise them with your business so better support networks and methods for assessment of employee well-being can be put in place. If you are the person who makes this decision for your business, ask as many opinions as you can and propose a plan to those involved in its implementation.
  • We’ve discussed the benefits of health and socialising out of work, but this might not occur to people within the wider business. Use this day to arrange work activities, offer discounts to leisure activities, or use the occasion to promote things like company healthcare or cycle to work schemes. Not only with this make the people around you happier and more productive, it will also make the company a more fun and attractive place to work.

Whatever you chose to do on October 27th make sure that the bare minimum you do is to assess the wellbeing of yourself and those around you. Often, it’s the case that employees who seem angry, depressed or despondent are actually people who usually enjoy their work, have other interests, but currently need support managing their workload, could benefit from training or have personal issues they have not received the appropriate level of support for. By taking the right action and looking after yourself enough to feel ready to do so, every member of your organisation can feel the benefits.

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If you or any of your team are facing issues at (or outside of) work around mental health, the following resources may be of use:

Cognitive Restructuring – Changing how you perceive a stressful situation.

Mindfulness – Helping to raise awareness of when you are stressed and how to reduce these feelings.

Talking Therapies – A guide to the main types of talking therapies for stress and anxiety reduction.

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