Workplace motivation in 4 steps

Motivation in the workplace is a complicated thing. Productivity is sometimes an easy thing to come across: we all have weeks where we can cross tasks from our to-do lists at alarming rates. During other weeks, we feel like we’ve run a marathon by the time we’ve forced ourselves out of bed, brushed our teeth, made ourselves presentable and reached sitting positions in front of our desks.

We all experience moments when motivation is more difficult to come by. During those moments, it’s always easier to leave work earlier, to mentally check out sooner than we should. That’s why we’ve outlined a few steps below that help combat that fatigued feeling – 4 ways to increase motivation in the workplace when you’re not feeling it.

1. Take breaks when you need them.

Did you know that spending less time at your desk can actually contribute to a more productive output? Take frequent breaks from your work – especially when you’re feeling fatigued, overly stressed or overwhelmed. Whether you need a breath of fresh air, a quick walk around the building, a conversation with a coworker or even 10 minutes to check the score of last night’s game, experts agree that taking breaks can help transform your overall productivity.

As one of the chief methods to maintain office productivity, frequent breaks contribute directly to increased workplace motivation. During those moments when you find yourself mentally, or physically, banging your head against your desk in pure frustration, take a break and return to your desk with a clear mind and a motivated work ethic.

2. Listen to music.

This step is contingent on your ability to wear headphones or listen to music at your desk, but here’s what we will say: music has a transformative effect on a workplace environment. Especially if you can lose yourself in the rhythm of your favorite album, you’ll be amazed at how fast time can fly, and how much you can accomplish. Playing music while you work is one of the easiest, fastest ways to transform overall productivity.

Whether it’s a classical soundtrack or contemporary rock, music that puts you in a productive mood has a way of motivating employees in unique ways. Many of us even know which songs get us motivated. Consider creating a soundtrack of the songs you know get you in the mood to work, and saving that playlist for the moments when you need a little extra motivation to help get you through the day. Often, the difference between a sluggish, unproductive workday and a motivated workplace is simple as a few tunes.

3. Change the view from your desk.

You’ll be amazed at the difference that a chance of scenery can make! Obviously, not everyone can change their environment at will. If you work in a laboratory or a more regimented place of business, this step will be more difficult to fulfill. However, if you can take phone calls in the hallway, migrate your laptop to a different desk for an hour, even read through reports on a bench outdoors, you’ll be changing up your view long enough to gain a fresh perspective.

Tiny changes in your environment can gain you major shifts in motivation. We begin to associate certain locations with certain emotions. In the same way that we feel nostalgic when walking through the doors of our favorite restaurant, we can begin to associate negative thoughts with an unchanged workplace setting. Change up your scenery every once in a while, to take another positive step toward increased workplace motivation you can sustain throughout the entire day.

4. Set and celebrate goals.

It’s one thing to celebrate goals that someone else – a boss, employer or even a coworker – set for us. It’s another thing entirely to celebrate goals that you set for yourself and accomplish. Don’t be afraid to set personal goals in the workplace, and more importantly, don’t be afraid to celebrate the moments when you achieve them.

You know yourself better than anyone else. Set goals that you know you can accomplish in the workplace, and take the time to congratulate yourself once those goals are accomplished, with subtle rewards you know you’ll enjoy. Whether that reward takes the form of an extra walk around the building or catered lunch, the important thing is that you’ve taken the time to understand and celebrate yourself. There are few things more motivating than accomplishing a real goal you set for yourself.

And don’t be afraid to let other people know of your goals! Post checklists at your desk, identify your goals on a bulletin board, or feel free to publicly display your goals somewhere else around your desk for coworkers to see. As an added bonus, employers always love to see intrinsically-motivated workers. Motivate yourself, your fellow coworkers and your employer when you set workplace goals you know you can accomplish.

Promoting a healthy, happy workplace

Taking breaks during the day and changing up your at-work scenery are great steps, but true workplace motivation always starts with a willingness to work and a clear mental state. That’s often difficult to achieve in life, given family challenges, personal hardship and a variety of other factors. 

That’s where an employee assistance program (EAP) can help transform your productivity and your life: you enjoy a network of solutions geared toward one goal: your professional, personal and mental well-being. That’s why Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP helps employers maintain their most valuable resource: their employees. Through grief and loss support, mental and behavioral health counseling, codependency therapy and more, we help your employees take control of their own lives. The results are beneficial for any business: simply by addressing employee concerns, we help transform employee retention rates, increase workplace motivation and decrease turnover.

The best places to work always seem to be populated with happy, motivated employees. These employees are passionate about the work they’re doing, work together well as a group and enjoy watching their work yield positive results.

Even if your workplace isn’t like that, you can always control the work you accomplish. Make sure that your desk environment parallels the type of motivated workplace you’d like to see.

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