Let’s Talk Business: July 8, 2022

Read this week’s Let’s Talk Business column in The Emporia Gazette.

Did you know that researchers now say there are five distinct kinds of workdays? A person’s productivity depends on which kind of day they’re having: ideal, toxic, disengaged, typical, or crisis days. The knowledge of what kind of day you or your employees are having might help guide the best kinds of work to focus on.

In today’s knowledge economy, workers’ creativity and ability to innovate are key to any organization’s success. Thus, increasing ideal workdays is key. Boost the number of workdays that are high in factors like organizational support and challenging work, and low in factors such as time pressure and conflict.

Employees reported higher creative performance on these “ideal” days, which account for about 30% of all workdays, according to Alexander S. McKay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Commonwealth University, based on a study of over 11,000 surveys in which employees rated their workdays on factors that stimulate or inhibit creativity.

In addition to “ideal” days, the following workplace experiences impact creative potential:

Toxic days: it’s easy to imagine that these are high in obstacles, like time pressures or office politics, but low in factors that stimulate creativity, like organizational support and resources. The good news? They make up just eight percent of workdays.

Disengaged days: these are days in which people are “checked out” or not really present for the tasks at hand, and account for about 10% of workdays.

Typical days: just like it sounds, these contain average levels of both stimulating and obstructive factors. Work gets done, but the environment doesn’t promote a flow of creative ideas. About 30% of workdays are “typical” days.

Crisis days: are high in both stimulant and obstacle factors; essentially, a blend of “toxic” and “ideal” days. They make up about 19% of all workdays.

While you cannot—and probably should not—make it a goal to eliminate the four different kinds of workdays, boosting the number of “ideal” days is key. But how to do that?

McKay says one step is to be a support system. That is, leaders need to let workers know they’re available for them and demonstrate empathy. It is also vital to set progress goals—but not limit how employees accomplish those goals.

“That autonomy will go a long way for motivating people,” McKay said.

Learn more about this research in “Another Day, Another Chance: Daily Workplace Experiences and Their Impact on Creativity” in the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Join us for a Chamber Ribbon Cutting for TLC Marketing and Trustpoint Insurance on July 12 at 4 p.m., at 1114 Commercial St., Suite C, with an Open House until 6 p.m. Check our website at emporiakschamber.org for all the details, call Membership Director James Gardner at 620-342-1600 or email him at jgardner@emporiakschamber.org, or stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St.

It’s a great day in Emporia!


“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org