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Engagement gap continues to widen

– Around one third of employees feel disengaged from their work – Hybrid working is more likely to amplify than mitigate the issue – Disengagement can be a consequence of poor boundaries between work and home life – Clinical experts offer five steps for employees to regain a positive post-pandemic mindset

Research shows* that 37% of employees (1) report feeling disengaged and demotivated at work. A large number, including those in HR and People teams, are also experiencing moderate to severe burnout.

The solutions for improving the post-pandemic mindset into a more engaged and productive workforce depend partly on an organisation collaborating with employees to permit and encourage better work life boundaries. Employees wellbeing will benefit enormously from being able to switch off and having more life outside work, and also need to take responsibility for actioning other positive changes as outlined below.

James Milford, head of behavioural sciences at Wellbeing Partners comments: “A significant number of employees, more than a third, report feeling disengaged, exhausted, unfocused, low in motivation, and many are also anxious about social interaction. It’s something that employers simply cannot ignore as recruitment and retention becomes more challenging.  Businesses need to prioritise and put in place structures that cultivate better work life balance for employees as a first step for re-engagement, and then encourage staff to take actions that enhance focus, improve mood, build confidence and create a more positive mindset around their work.”

Here are five tips from their “Back on Track: the Post-Pandemic Mindset” session for employees, which helps foster a post-pandemic mindset that is resilient, positive and prepared for the challenges ahead. In summary:

  1. Find the right balance: demotivation is often a sign that we need to pay more attention to our work/life balance. Employers must listen to employees’ needs and put in policies that permit and encourage employees to have boundaries between their work and personal lives, with senior management setting the culture from the top and leading by example
  2. Present-focus – overcoming “not wanting to be working” by focusing on the job at hand, with nourishing activities to break up the day and offer reward for engagement. Learning the skill of being mindful of the moment can be developed with regular practice
  3. Sleep – when we are tired out bodies crave experiences and foods that stimulate us, and make it more difficult to concentrate on work. Developing a well-functioning psychological connection between bed and sleep is the key to becoming a “good sleeper”
  4. Break bad habits: habitual patterns of thought can trigger and sustain stress. Learning to recognise the thinking pattern triggers that lead to bad habits, and choosing to respond differently at times of challenge, helps to boost confidence, resilience and create genuine engagement
  5. Better together: engaging and collaborating with others is positive for wellbeing, so employers should look to strategies that bring people together and support social as well as professional activities

*Research by Wellbeing Partners from 4,000+ employees at 50+ workplaces across the UK in 2021/22.

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