Unhappy employees can be challenging. More importantly, they can damage the workplace. They are usually far less productive, and their lack of productivity can affect both the teams they are part of and the entire output of the company. They often have poor morale as well, and that can infect co-workers.

Unhappy employees may also be looking for a job. It takes time and money to replace an employee, so it’s a good idea to know as far as possible in advance, so productivity is not affected. So you need to identify unhappy employees as soon as possible.

Here are three signs your employees might be unhappy.

1. They come in late and leave early

Happy employees like what they do. They are energized by work. They also like their co-workers and look forward to chatting with them. So there is no incentive for them to be late at the start of the workday or to duck out early.

If people are looking for another position, these actions might also be a sign they are interviewing before or after work.

2. There’s a sudden decline in their productivity

If you have an employee whose productivity suddenly drops off, it could be a sign of unhappiness. They seem to take forever to do things they once did quickly. They are endlessly getting coffee. Or, they may hang out talking with colleagues. Maybe they seem to disappear.

Whether they don’t like new tasks, feel disrespected or are having difficulty with a co-worker or another potential source of unhappiness, one of the chief signals is a decline in productivity, especially if they have been productive before.

3. They don’t attend group activities

You may sponsor a monthly lunch, or a group of people go for happy hour after work. There may be a company softball team. An employee who doesn’t attend could be unhappy.

Again, this is likely to be a sign of unhappiness if it’s sudden and they have been attending the activities before. Be sure to look at other possible reasons, such as an increase in childcare responsibilities, that may make getting together with colleagues more difficult than in the past. If there isn’t another explanation, though, it could be unhappiness.

It’s always a good idea to have a chat with someone who seems unhappy. If it is work-related, perhaps more training or a change in tasks would help. Remember, unhappiness must be dealt with before it erodes productivity and morale.

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