3 May 2018
Emotions and productivity
Emotions and productivity

Excited and wounded up people are more productive!

Fact that emotions and atmosphere at work influence performance is obvious.  Although “there’s a long-held expectation that people should keep their emotions out of the workplace”. How often we’ve heard: let’s put our emotions aside, it’s not professional. Actually it is not possible or even important to productivity. We are human beings and emotions are part of who we are and cannot be left home. In his presentation at Challenges of Project Management – Psychology-Team-Agile conference  Łukasz Czaja shared the outcome of a 3 year experiment done for two teams: IT and administration. He has also inspired us to create an environment where people are more productive. A short interview (Polish) with Łukasz can be found here.

In this experiment 12 emotions have been identified:

  • Excited
  • Happy
  • Surprised
  • Dynamic
  • Wound up
  • Indifferent
  • Shocked
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Tired
  • Frustrated

A 42 week experiment on relation between emotions and the performance (story points) including 2 teams, 15 developers (men only) revealed that the most productive are people who are:

  • Wound up (24,77%)
  • Excited (20,73%)
  • Dynamic (19,84%)

And then sad, tired and angry.

On the other hand the less productive are:

  • Indifferent (-44,98%)
  • Frustrated (-32,42%)

And surprisingly

  • Happy (-17,40%)

Another 82 week experiment on correlation between emotions and the performance was completed on a team of 9 (women only) and the results are a bit different:

  • Wound up and exited (19 %)
  • Angry (14%)
  • Indifferent (13%)
  • Tired (11%)

And only frustrated (-5%) and surprised (-4%) were not performing.


Interesting research has been done by Atlassian proving that “if a team is not excited about the work to be done, it is much less likely to be done than if they are excited about it.”

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