6 Steps to Take When You're Not Feeling Engaged at Work
Boost your productivity and job satisfaction through these tips.
By Mary Ellen Slayter, Monster Career Expert
To me, feeling engaged means you feel like your work really matters, that you’re making progress toward bigger goals. It’s a state of flow, where the work almost doesn’t feel like “work” a lot of the time. When you’re feeling engaged, you can work really hard, and it feels satisfying, even when it’s exhausting.
Everybody feels lulls at work, and that’s normal. But if it’s starting to interfere with your productivity or mood at home, it could be a case of job-related burnout. Here are some steps you can take to help you examine your engagement and consider what you need to do to get back in the game.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Sometimes, it’s a matter of refocusing on why what you’re doing matters: What’s the bigger mission of your organization, and how do you fit into it?
One way to re-engage with your job is to connect yourself with your larger organization, says executive coach Tatiana Lyons. “Get involved beyond your direct responsibilities in activities,” she says. Doing so will establish yourself as a team player who’s interested in the organization’s growth.
Take a Break
Other times, disengagement is your body’s way of telling you it’s time to take a break — even if your mind tries to tell you otherwise. Have you taken time off lately? Are you overdue for a vacation? Even one day off can help you recharge your batteries and come back with new energy.
Change Up Your Routine
It could be you’re just bored, so shake up your routine a bit. Volunteer for a cross-functional project. Invite colleagues you don’t know well out for coffee, and learn more about their jobs.
Adrienne Tom, a career strategist with Career Impressions, says she reminds employees to put aside time each week or month to pursue new opportunities in the workplace. This could be learning a new skill or activity, attending a professional networking event, or joining a work committee that’s outside of their job description.
“These activities keep things fresh and raise engagement, and ultimately satisfaction,” Tom says. “What most employees forget is that they have to take the lead in pursuit of these opportunities and not wait for their boss or their employer to offer them up.”
Helping someone else can help yourself as well, says Steve Langerud. “Sharing your knowledge and skill with someone feels great. And feeling good about one thing at work will carry over to help you engage in other areas.”
When there are issues bugging you at work, do you try addressing them? I’m always amazed at how much time and energy people will devote to seething about their problems, rather than creating an action plan to do something about them.
If none of this works, maybe it’s time to start looking for a new job. It can be difficult to pull yourself out of disengagement, especially if it’s become a chronic condition. In that case, your best bet may simply be to look elsewhere.