What is contagious stress in the workplace?

Olivia, A common scenario is when one person in a work environment infects everyone with contagious stress. Contagious stress is a real phenomenon that has been studied in Europe for many years. Stress in a corporation can literally spread like a pandemic. For example, one person might spread rumors about layoffs because of cost cuts, and then fear spreads like wildfire through the company, setting off a panic. Studies have even located the places where these “stress viruses” originate, usually in restrooms or near a coffeepot.

We all know what it is like to go into work in a good mood and feel ourselves brought down or irritated by the office grump, gossip, or arrogant critic. This is no small factor within a corporation. Unchecked, it can wreak havoc with the optimism, productivity, and mood of a company.