Put on a Happy Face? Dealing with emotions at work

What do we know? What do we need to know? What can we learn about emotional labour and the management of emotions at work.

The management and display of emotions has become a hidden job requirement for many Canadian employees. If you interact directly with clients or customers, you are often required to display certain “expected” emotions, while suppressing your true feelings.

For example, a barista is expected to serve “coffee with a smile” even if the customer has been rude and disrespectful. A nurse has to put away their own feelings of grief after losing a patient so that they can help their next patient. Emotions are a part of our human experience. They are the basis for which we experience happiness, peace, anger or strength…but what happens when our personal feelings and emotions clash with our work life? What are the consequences associated with this type of work activity?

Join Dr. Diana Singh and Dr. Shirin Khayambashi for a four-part series about emotional labour and its health consequences. This four-part series about emotional labour and its health consequences.

The first part of this webinar will be released on Monday, March 15, 2021.


Session Three: Practical Implications

What can we learn from previous research and empirical findings?
In this workshop we will explore proven skills, resources and strategies that help individuals navigate emotional labour intensive work environments.

Please email any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don't forget to join us for the live Q&A session from 2-3 p.m. on April 11, 2021.

This workshop was originally shared on March 29, 2021.

Session Two: Current Knowledge

What do we need to know about emotional labour intensive work?
In this workshop we will explore some of the critical perspectives on emotional labour and its consequences such as stress.

We will explore the current knowledge on the health consequences of emotional labour and Dr. Singh will share some of her ongoing research in this area. Dr. Khayambashi will share her perspectives on emotion management and how it can be experienced differently based on an individual’s gender identity, race or occupation.


Please email any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don't forget to join us for the live Q&A session from 2-3 p.m. on April 11, 2021.

This workshop was originally shared on March 22, 2021.

Session One: Introduction

What do we know about emotional labour?
What is emotional labour? What isn’t emotional labour? How do we know when/if we are engaging in emotional labour? This first workshop will introduce you to the concept of emotional labour.

Questions for Reflection

  1. What are your experiences with emotional labour (either currently or in the past?
  2. )What does emotional labour look like to you?
  3. What are your thoughts about the two articles provided to you in the workshop? What about the podcast?
  4. Do you agree that emotional labour is a burden?


Please email any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don't forget to join us for the live Q&A session from 2-3 p.m. on April 11, 2021.

This workshop was originally shared on March 15, 2021.


Dr. Diana Singh

Dr. Singh is a Sociologist and Social Psychologist who specializes in how our emotions are connected to our psychological well-being. Her research primarily examines how emotions are used at our places of work. Her current research examines the health consequences of emotional labour in service based occupations, where the risk of burnout, exhaustion and emotional transfer from work to home threatens the mental health and overall wellbeing of service workers and their families.

Dr. Singh is currently the Principle Investigator for the project entitled, “Emotions Matter: Skill Building, Emotional Resilience and Social Support for Care Workers.” The project is being conducted in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Hamilton.

Dr. Shirin Khayambashi

Dr. Shirin Khayambashi is a sessional professor at York University.  Shirin is a qualitative researcher who specializes in the identity development of minority group identity. She has extensive knowledge in social psychology and completed several research projects exploring the environmental and social factors on self-development. Her recent published article “Diaspora, Identity and Store Signs” in the Journal of Visual Studies explored communal identity development through the publicly exhibited store signs and banners in Greater Toronto Area. She has further presented her research in a variety of Canadian and American conferences. She is currently working as a qualitative consultant on the research project led by Dr. Singh. They are exploring the emotional and psychological challenges of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also a research associate on a project led by Dr. Kazemipur, in which they are exploring the identity development of the Iranian Muslim community in Canada. Through her research, she challenges group dynamics and questions the issues confronted by minority members of an ethnic community.

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