There is no denying that we are currently living in a period of great uncertainty. Our regular working routines have been disrupted, confusion surrounds our priorities and goals, and progress has been thwarted. As a result, many of us are struggling to stay focused working from home, and our levels of stress have sky-rocketed.
So, it should come as no surprise if your motivation for work has recently plummeted.
Given our present circumstances could be our reality for the coming months, we need to ensure we can remain productive and function at an optimal level whilst working from home. But how do we stay motivated when the scaffolds we are used to operating within have disappeared?
The good news is that our motivation comes from inside us.
After knowing one’s self, knowing what drives our motivation is one of the most important lessons we can learn, especially if we are also responsible for driving the motivation of others.
Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, two American researchers and psychologists, have suggested that there are certain factors that we need to stay motivated. They suggest that we perform at our best when we are intrinsically motivated, which occurs when our three psychological desires of competency, autonomy and relatedness are met.
So how can these needs be achieved whilst we work from home?
We have a yearning to build our knowledge and skills in order to control our work, manage our challenges and reach our goals.
Our growth and development should not stop being a priority because of the current challenges we are facing. We could look for opportunities to continue to extend our capabilities but potentially in different ways. As an example, we can participate in the many online learning offerings available. We also need to find new and interesting challenges to take on so we can experience variety in our tasks and a sense of mastery more regularly.
We want to feel as though we have control and choice over the way a job is performed.
At present, although not our own doing, we have all been given the flexibility to work from home so we have some form of independence in the way we structure our days. What’s more, we have the freedom to put our stamp on our work. We can be innovative and creative in how we approach our tasks, and we can apply our strengths to our demands, which will enable us to feel more energised and engaged.
We have a deep need to feel as though we belong and have strong connections with others.
Although we have been instructed to physically separate ourselves from our colleagues, we are still able to engage and collaborate with our co-workers by taking advantage of the technology available to us. In my previous blog post for Tribeca, I talked about ways you can go about this and the importance of staying connected. Click here for some of these tips.
What about purpose?
In addition to the three main intrinsic motivators, we also need to feel connected to our organisation’s purpose to ensure we stay motivated. Knowing our workplace’s purpose helps provide direction and clarity on why we may be doing something, particularly during these uncertain times.
Employers should be using every opportunity to reconnect their team members back to their purpose too and should be establishing a clear strategy for the short-term.
As you move through your to-do list, try and find connections to your organisation’s purpose for all tasks no matter how big or small so you are reminded of why you are doing something. If you feel as though you are contributing to something bigger than yourself, this will help get you out of bed each day and provide the effort and focus you need to reach your goals.
Although there are several factors outside of our control, there are certain elements we have some influence over that are important for our wellbeing and physical health.
Be proactive and make sure you are meeting your psychological needs and are connected to your purpose. This will enable you to stay motivated and to function well during these challenging times.
About the author:
Anna Glynn is a Positive Psychology teacher and expert on wellbeing. Anna’s passion is to support people, teams and organisations to achieve their goals, drive positive change and maximise their potential. She loves to see clients become more engaged in their work, perform at their best, take control of their wellbeing, and thrive both personally and professionally.
Anna is currently running a series of webinars that focus on how you and your team can stay engaged and productive whilst working from home. For more information, you can visit her website or LinkedIn, Facebook pages.
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Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The” what” and” why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological inquiry, 11(4), 227-268.
Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.
Pink, D. H. (2009). The puzzle of motivation. TED Talks.
Pink, D. H. (2011). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Penguin.
Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.
Sinek, S. (2009). How great leaders inspire action. TED Talks.