Aussies now more open to sharing their emotions at work post-pandemic

Shiva Kumar, Careers Expert at LinkedIn

Showing more of our emotions at work could be the secret to better staff morale in this hybrid world of work, according to the latest research by LinkedIn, a professional network. 47% are more open at work now than before the pandemic, while two-thirds (66%) say that doing so makes them more productive and boosts feelings of belonging. This shift is also reflected on LinkedIn, which has seen a 28% rise in public conversations on the platform.

What were the findings of LinkedIn’s research?

Aussies are not holding back with their emotions and are becoming more vulnerable, with over half (52%) admitting to having cried in front of their boss – a quarter (25%) having done so on more than one occasion. Despite this, over a quarter of workers (27%) are still worried about wearing their hearts on their sleeves out of a fear of being judged.

Unfairly, women are bearing the brunt more, with 62% of Aussies agreeing that women are often judged more in comparison to men when they share their emotions at work.

GenZ more open at work

GenZ’s (52%) and Millennials (53%) lead the way in expressing themselves, with over half on average comfortable to open up, falling to 24% for those aged 55 and over in comparison.

GenZ’s have felt the benefits of flexible working more too, as over a third (35%) say it has encouraged them to open up more often in front of their colleagues, compared to just 11% of 55+. GenZ’s are also seeing a stronger response from their online community, with a third (33%) saying they have received more support when they have opened up on LinkedIn.

Humour is the most underused emotion

The majority (72%) of Aussies agree that “cracking a joke” at work is good for office culture, with only a quarter (25%) considering it to be ‘unprofessional’. Yet, 83% of Aussies still say humour is in fact the most underused and undervalued emotion at work, while a further 6 in 10 want to see their co-workers crack more jokes in general in the workplace.

It is the Aussies in the Northern Territory who are cracking the most jokes in the country, with over a third (36%) doing so at least once a day, closely followed by workers in Tasmania (33%), Queensland (30%), New South Wales (29%) and Victoria (26%).

Indian and Italian workers come out on top as the funniest workers, with over a third (38%) respectively cracking a joke at least once a day. Aussies (29%) emerged as the least funny, even when compared to Germans (36%), Brits (34%), Dutch (33%) and the French (32%).

Keeping up with the shifts in conversations happening in the world of work, LinkedIn is launching a funny reaction to allow members to express humour and fun. This adds to the existing gamut of reactions that LinkedIn introduced in 2019 to help members express their sentiments on posts and articles. The funny reaction has been rolled out globally today.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the study?

Commenting on the study, Shiva Kumar, Careers Expert at LinkedIn, said,“The lines between work and home have never felt more blurred over the last two and a half years, which has led to people feeling like they can show more vulnerability and candour with each other.”

“This is reflected in what we are seeing on LinkedIn, where members are more open in sharing how they are dealing with situations at work, whether it be balancing work and family priorities or setting boundaries to take care of their well-being. Humour can help lighten the mood, whilst still communicating the message you want to convey,” Kumar further said.

“The laughing emoji that can be used to express joy in response to a post someone has shared, has been one of the most requested features from our members. We are all human and it’s okay, even professional, to show our vulnerable and humourous sides on LinkedIn.”

Dr. Tim Sharp, LinkedIn Changemaker and Chief Happiness Officer at the Happiness Institute, said: “Emotions shouldn’t be something we’re afraid to share. The fact that humour in the workplace is seen as underused and undervalued is quite telling, given laughter is such an important expression when it comes to feeling good and connecting with colleagues.”

“Happiness is connected to our well-being, and everybody spends such a large part of their lives in the workplace. If the last couple of difficult years have taught us anything, it’s that it’s vital for Australians to express themselves, without worrying about the judgment of others.”