A term first coined by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, it’s the work we do to regulate our emotions to create “a publicly visible facial and bodily display within the workplace”. Experts say emotional labour is a feature of nearly all occupations in which we interact with people, whether we work in a customer-facing role or not. Across the globe, employees in many professions are expected to embrace a work culture that requires the outward display of particular emotions – these can including ambition, aggression and a hunger for success. “It’s a disinclination to engage in the emotional battle that someone else wants you to engage in. I keep in sight the real work that needs to be done.” Those who report regularly having to display emotions at work that conflict with their own feelings are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. Remaining true to your feelings appears to be key – numerous studies show those who report regularly having to display emotions at work that conflict with their own feelings are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. Of course, everybody needs to be professional at work and handling difficult clients and colleagues is often just part of the job.
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