The Unexamined Life

Smiling At Work Leads To Heavy Drinking, Study Suggests

New research revealed that people who fake their smiles to please customers at work are vulnerable to heavy drinking. Employees were found to feel bad whenever they had to pretend to smile when they are actually holding back negative emotions.

Professor of Psychology at Penn State Alicia Grandey and her colleagues at the University at Buffalo studied the relationship between impulsive people who interact with customers and drinking. These workers were usually entry-level professionals who were not eligible of social or financial benefits in their work.

They used the Survey of Work and Stress Health to converse with 1,592 out of 3,000 workers through phone interviews in the U.S. Data collection was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant, reported Fox News.

The results showed that people who lack personal control over behavior at work were highly likely to drink after working hours. As per the American Psychological Association, emotional labor with customers become more susceptible when they lack personal self-control traits even after hours.

Workers who were found to binge-drink after work were those who manned service counters and buffered for those service relationships. Grandey said that those who had rewarding jobs, however, were less likely to develop the habit.

She used nurses as an example of workers who have to fake their emotions. They had to comfort a patient to garner their trust and serve them better. As a result, they become drained after their shifts.

Grandey suggested that employers may want to establish “service with a smile” policies. These may help the large segment of U.S. employees in public-facing occupations, according to Penn State University.

Job stress has become a worldwide epidemic, reported Forbes. A poll showed that about 80 percent of American workers suffer from it and need professional help in managing it.

The report suggested that devising a work health plan may alleviate the job stresses that come with faking a smile at work. These include spreading tasks over reasonable time frames, leaving for work about 15 minutes earlier and setting boundaries to protect your personal and private time after working hours.  Multitasking also increases stress. It is suggested that you should complete tasks one at a time to feel more relaxed at work.