Maintain motivation at work

Engaging with your workload and peers can encourage better performance 
by Bethan Rees

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life,” according to Chinese philosopher Confucius. Of course, this might be easier said than done. However, you should try and enjoy, or at least be interested in, the work you are doing as this can affect productivity, which in turn can affect business output and employee wellbeing. 

Officevibe, a web-based employee engagement platform, publishes real-time data on employee engagement, including statistics from over 1,000 organisations spanning 157 countries. It says that 63% of employees don’t feel like they get enough praise, with 72% saying they get praise less than once per week; 23% leaving work feeling drained or very drained every day, and 56% believing that they have no career advancement opportunities. With the average person spending 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, this adds up to many hours of negativity and drudgery. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Staying motivated can help avoid low engagement. Here are some tips on how to achieve maximum motivation.
Set goals for yourselfReaching a goal always feels good, no matter how small. Set yourself some goals to maintain interest in your work. These should fit in to the SMART criteria, which stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For example, the specific could be: provide more growth for your team members (if you’re a manager). Measurable could relate to giving feedback to employees bi-weekly. The attainable aspect is that a manager is expected to provide feedback. This goal is relevant because it improves the company-wide feedback culture and helps employees feel praised (see earlier stat). The goal should be time-bound; for example, by the end of the next quarter. 

Celebrating any goals you reach with a treat of some kind could help you reach the finishing line too, whether that is a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine, a trip to the cinema or a new book. Celebrating success can be linked back to ‘neuro-happy’ chemicals in our brain – dopamine. The release of dopamine leaves you wanting more, hence keeping you motivated. 
Regenerating is important After a holiday, although the thought of coming back to work might be a bit daunting, most will return to the office feeling refreshed and regenerated, ready to start work with a renewed outlook. Of course, this is dependent on work schedules and workloads, but figure out some appropriate breaks to take, even if it’s just an afternoon off to relax. 

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report Work-related stress, depression or anxiety statistics in Great Britain 2017, which uses estimates from the Labour Force Survey (the largest household study in the UK looking at the employment circumstances of the UK population), 526,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2016/17.

If you can’t take time off work easily, make sure you get enough sleep. Too little can impair your cognitive abilities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people between the ages of 25 and 64 require between seven and nine hours of sleep.
Get to know your co-workersTaking breaks to get to know your co-workers can inspire motivation for the working day. Scientist Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: why our brains are wired to connect, argues that as humans, our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water. Finding a person (or people) in your office you share common interests with, or just generally get along with, can help make the day more enjoyable. 

Being motivated at work is a key driver to a successful performance in your job, but it is also important that you’re not putting yourself through undue stress, which can lead to more serious health problems such as depression or anxiety. By setting yourself goals, making sure you take the time to regenerate (and sleep well), and taking time to have friendly chats with your co-workers, you can help yourself maintain and enhance your motivation and engagement at work. 

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Published: 01 Jun 2018
  • Career Development
  • The Review
  • Career advice
  • career

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