5 Ways to Combat Lack of Motivation and Energy in the Workplace

Try these techniques to help boost your employees’ energy and motivation at work.

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5 Ways to Combat Lack of Motivation and Energy in the Workplace

Here's what you need to know:

  • Invest in your employees so that they can take care of their general health and get proper sleep and healthy food
  • Help your employees to achieve Flow by working on tasks that are just a little bit beyond their current skills
  • Show employees how their work makes a difference to help give them purpose in their work
  • Show progression to workers through feedback
  • Set clear steps for employees to reach their goals

There’s been so much discussion in the past few years about employee well-being and energy in the workplace. But, unfortunately, many employees are struggling with burnout at work. This leads to their energy, motivation, and productivity levels plummeting.

However, there are things that companies can do to ensure their employees don’t lose energy or motivation in the workplace. That’s why we will go over the 5 ways that you can combat that in the workplace.

5 ways to combat lack of motivation and energy at work

There’s an industry that managed to combat a lack of energy and motivation quite successfully — gaming. When people play games, they don’t argue that they’re tired, not energetic, or that they lack motivation. They can spend hours playing the game and even fail to accomplish the goals.

But none of that discourages them to play the game less. What happens is that games get the following 5 elements right and businesses should follow their lead.

1. Get the basics right

The first things to get right are the fundamentals. They are prerequisites that enable all other elements that combat the lack of motivation and energy in the workplace. They are:

  • Sleep. Employees need to get enough sleep or they won’t be able to be motivated and energetic no matter what. A person who’s sleeping less than 7 hours can’t be expected to function at a high level.
  • Food. Garbage in; garbage out. Employees need to eat healthy food in order to function at a high level. If they’re not eating right, they won’t have the necessary fuel in their bodies to operate at a high level. Food is so important that there’s a word in the dictionary explaining people who are angry because they’re hungry — hangry.
  • General health. If the employee is sick from the flu, it won’t be possible for them to operate at a high level. Employees need to be generally healthy if they’re to be productive and energetic in the workplace.

As a business, you can’t control all three of these elements. What you can do is invest in your employees so that they can take care of the 3 elements listed above.

2. Achieve Flow

Flow is a term coined by Michael Csikszentmihalyi that explains how people can achieve a state of high productivity when they work. The Flow process has eluded the business world for a long time, but games have created that experience for decades now.

To achieve Flow, your employees need to work on tasks that are just a little bit beyond their current skills. That means that the task will engage them because they will need to be focused in order to complete it successfully.

If the task is easy, they will do it on autopilot. If the task is way beyond their current skills, they will disengage and not even try to do it (throwing people into the “fire”). So give people tasks that will be in their “learning zone”. That will push them to focus and learn new skills to accomplish tasks.

Games do this with levels. When your character is level 10, you fight monsters that are level 10, 11, or 12. You don’t fight monsters that are lower level than yours because you get less experience. Also, you don’t fight monsters level 14 or above because they’re too hard to deal with. You stay in the learning zone.

3. Make it purposeful

People can lose motivation and energy if the tasks they’re doing seem pointless. No employee wants to feel like a cog in a wheel. They want to know that their actions matter and that what they’re doing makes a contribution.

Games perfectly encapsulate this feeling by giving importance to each character’s actions. Everything that you do (or don’t do) has consequences for the entire game. So businesses should provide meaning to all the tasks the employee does in the workplace.

If someone is working in a call center, bring those customers to the office one day. This will show your employees how their work makes a difference in someone else’s life.

4. Show progression through feedback

Showing progression to your employees is one of the most impactful things you can do in the workplace.

When players play games, they always have a bar that states how much experience they currently have and how much they still need for the next level. Each task/objective they do provides experience points that add up until they reach the next level.

Businesses need to lower the feedback cycle to almost instant feedback in the workplace.

In the workplace, employees start with a bar and do tasks for a year until the performance review. Then, upon review, they realize that 30% of their tasks didn’t provide any experience points and that some things were actually detrimental to their “Experience bars.”

In games, you immediately know if you did the right thing because you either accomplish the mission and get experience, or you don’t and you don’t get any experience. In the workplace, you do the task and wait till you get your review to see if you did it right.

Businesses need to lower the feedback cycle to almost instant feedback in the workplace. This way, employees will know if they’re progressing in the right direction or if they need to change something in their approach. This will lead to an increase in both motivation and energy in the workplace.

5. Set clear steps

The last thing to do is to set clear steps on how employees will achieve their goals. Games do this exceptionally well. When you have a character, you get a couple of missions that will lead you to gain new levels and unlock new zones.

You don’t go from level 10 to level 15 by jumping to it — there are clear steps in between that ensure that you always know the next step.

In the business world, employees are oftentimes lost in what they need to do. This lack of direction and clear steps in front of them cause a lack of energy and motivation. They know where they need to go but don’t know how to get there.

This doesn’t mean that you need to tell your employees what they need to do exactly, but you need to provide them with a framework and they will do the rest.

Even games take this kind of approach. A game won’t tell you exactly which mission to take or in which zone to play if you’re level 10.

But a game will tell you that there are 3 zones where level 10 characters can take missions and that there are 100 missions to choose from. This way, players have a framework of operation, but still retain autonomy in choosing how they want to do the tasks.

Businesses need to incorporate this way of operating in their workplaces if they want employees to stay energetic, motivated, and productive.

Inspire and motivate your employees at work

If you follow the above-mentioned steps, you will be able to motivate your employees and they will be energetic and productive. If you’d like additional information when it comes to motivating your employees, check out this post: How to Boost Employee Morale and Motivation.

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