My employer Tracy, will often be heard throughout the office day but more so when it comes to one of her pet hates…The Mood Hoover!

A Mood Hoover is an employee with a gripe and isn’t shy to let everyone in the office know about it.  They bang on about how things are so tough and difficult, they don’t stop until they have succeeded in bringing everyone around them down to their level – they’ve hoovered up everyone’s good mood.

I’m sure this is a common problem for many employers and sometimes it’s the employer themselves who is the Mood Hoover, vacuuming all positivity from around the office.  This behaviour can be infectious and soon employers may find they have a whole army of Mood Hoovers, asking people to lift their feet whilst they ensure they have every crumb of a good feeling locked away.  This will obviously lead to poor productivity as all employees become disillusioned with the workplace.

Managing and motivating these employees is a vital part of any employers work.  They need to limit the damage that can be caused and nip the problem in the bud. It is difficult for smaller companies as they often don’t have the HR knowhow and experience of being able to deal with these types of situations without infringing the rights of individuals.  Helplines such as ACAS can help in this department and are available to offer help and advice to both employers and employees alike.

Employers may find that they also have Mood Hoovers operating in a slightly different manner.  Some members of staff may find themselves on Facebook, Snapchat and other forms of social media when they’re supposed to be working.  If other staff members see this it can make them angry and frustrated that they’re having to do all the work whilst their colleague catches up on their social life.  Worse still, it could lead to other employees thinking, “Well if they can get away with it, why can’t I?”  Next thing you know everyone’s messaging whoever they please and productivity is out the window.

Regular engagement with employees such as one-to-ones, appraisals and just general informal chats can help build a positive atmosphere and improve communications.  The most effective way for employers to prevent this behaviour in the office is by looking for key signs at interview stage like how they have dealt with situations in the past.  Maybe arranging time to speak to a previous employer about attitudes and behaviour.  Just taking notice of how polite and helpful someone is at an interview can also be a good pointer.

If an employer finds themselves in a situation where they are disciplining an employee, then everything needs to be written down and recorded with a list actions and decisions made at the time.