We’ve all been there – sometimes we just don’t want to go to work. It might be too beautiful of a day to spend in the office or maybe you didn’t get the best sleep the night before, but whatever the reason is we still go into work.
What isn’t normal, however, is the feeling of complete and utter dread at the thought of spending one more minute in that office. This, experts say, may be due to lack of workplace motivation.
“Low motivation can do many things to an employee, including slow down productivity, weaken attention to detail and decrease willingness to move forward to with projects and assignments,” Angela Payne, general manager at Monster Canada, says. “Low motivation can be contagious. If one particular employee has low motivation, there’s potential for a team to lag or be influenced by that attitude.”
If low motivation is common with many employees, Payne says it can also have a big impact on team productivity and revenue growth for the company, among other things.
According to a recent Monster survey, three-quarters of working Canadians say they are motivated at their job. While they may not be working at their dream job, they still remain positive and can find at least one thing they love about their current job.
However, a worldwide survey of 143 countries (about 180 million employees) by Gallup in 2013 found only 13 per cent of employees feel they are engaged at work while 63 per cent say that are not and feel they lack motivation.
Canada and the U.S. came in as the top countries with the most motivation at work as 29 per cent say they feel they are engaged in their workplace. However, 54 per cent say they are not engaged while 18 per cent say they are actively disengaged.
So what is demotivating employees in the workplace? The most common reasons for losing interest according to Payne include:
Not having a clear line of sight to the company goals
“Employers can fix this by ensuring orientation and training programs give employees a thorough understanding of the company’s values and mission,” Payne says.
This can happen in a few different ways, Payne says. For example, not having clear lines of ownership in decision processes, finance or other departments with overly strict guidelines.
Feeling a lack of purpose and/or belonging to something that matters
If an organization changes its mission, it can impact the motivation of its employees.
“Many employees desire having a job that makes a difference,” she says. So it’s important that companies identify why it does the work that it does.
Lack of career development and/or advancement
“The employees who feel this most may be those on contract, at a time when career development or advancement may not be set in stone,” Payne explains.
Look for in-house training courses or opportunities to network, Payne says. And if it’s not offered, then companies should think about offering these opportunities to their employees during work hours.
Also try career pathing, coaching, and conversations and simple solid performance management processes. These help employees shed light on what’s possible for them in the workplace.
“From gossiping, unfairness and longer-than-usual work hours, a toxic environment can have a negative impact on employee motivations,” Payne says.
To fix this, employers need to be transparent to certain processes. And if an internal employee survey or audit comes along, don’t be afraid to let your concerns be known.
In fact, a 2015 study by the University of Toronto found that workplace anxiety on job performance was linked to the quality of relationships between employees, their bosses, and co-workers.
The study, researchers said, highlights the importance of building strong social support networks in workplaces.
Overbearing boss – micromanagement
“An overbearing boss generally leads to micromanagement which can impact an employee’s motivation and self-confidence to put new ideas forward,” according to Payne. “Ways to avoid this are allowing employees to lead on certain aspects of projects or assignments and leaving time to review, revise and learn as needed.”
Tips on how to keep your motivation up
It all starts with the hiring process, Payne says. In order to keep motivation up, employers need to hire the right people for the job in the first place.
But it’s also important for both employees and employers to have a little fun. Things like company outings can really build solid trusting relationships in the organization.
Benefits for staying motivated at work
By staying motivated at work, it can only help you on a personal and professional level.
According to Monster, motivation in the workplace can help set you up for future opportunities, avoid a negative reputation and force you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
But sometimes no matter how hard you try – despite you being determined to stay motivated in your current job – it’s not possible. If this is the case, then it may be time to think about moving on from the company or industry.