3 Ways to restore a sense of control and motivation at work

Feeling disengaged in various realms of your life? You aren’t alone. While the pandemic’s initial chaos and confusion seeped into every crevice of our lives and forced us to quickly adapt; as the drama and pace of change settles, so too is our energy and engagement.

It’s not surprising that after all this disruption, employees are starting to report feeling stressed, tired, frustrated, disconnected and demotivated.

Why are we starting to feel more disengaged?

In the field of organisational psychology, work engagement is seen as a state of mind characterised by an employee’s vigour, dedication, and absorption and focus. Others also include one’s pride towards work outcomes.

Tell-tale signs of disengagement are when employees lack energy and motivation, lack focus on the task at hand, and commit to doing the bare minimum only.

Depending on how your employer has managed their response to the pandemic, a few reasons for disengagement at work can include:

  • Micromanagement and distrust
  • Poor employer communication about new processes, job security, and the return to normal
  • Poor communication between isolated teams causing a lack of team spirit
  • Barriers preventing work outputs, such as ill-equipped home offices
  • Administrative hassles and complications
  • Anxiety and worry about the future, including travelling to work at risk of catching COVID-19
  • Excessive workloads and/or ‘spill over’ causing burnout

3 ways to restore your sense of control and motivation

It may seem like the world is falling apart and is out of your control, but that doesn’t mean you need to be as well.

1. Assess and modify your work environment

If your employer insists on continuing work-from-home arrangements, customise your work space and flow. Set boundaries between your work and home life, so you are better able to detach from ‘work’ at the end of the day (and avoid after hours spill over).

2. Focus on your emotional management

While it’s always tempting to complain about a difficult situation, colleague or client, venting focuses you on the problem and maintains your negative emotions, preventing you from moving forward with a solution. Especially now when there’s no watercooler chat time to trouble shoot!

Remember that you can’t control what other people say or do, but you can control how you respond.

3. Practice daily self-care

One thing that always remains in your control is the way you treat yourself, so be kind and gentle. Set aside time for your wellbeing, including exercise, diet, mindfulness, gratitude, and connection. Don’t forget to call loved ones!

Long term, if the reasons for feeling disengaged or that you’re lacking control of your life remain unaddressed, you could find your mental health deteriorating which can take much longer to recover from. Try these three tips to help restore your sense of control.


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