We’ve been in a pandemic for almost 18 months and naturally, this has affected the way we work. By now, many of us are accustomed to the routine of waking up and taking a video call from home, but the desire to work is slowly fading.
When we first started working from home, it was exciting. We didn’t have to commute and we could have more of a lie-in. But now, our bedrooms and kitchen tables have turned into offices and the novelty has completely worn off.
To top it all, some companies are already delaying their return to the office, as Covid cases continue to rise. Boris Johnson may have removed the official work from home order, but many of us will be staying put for the time being.
No wonder we’re lacking motivation. Almost half of us are no longer even bothered about climbing the career ladder, a recent study by Aviva found.
Career coach and co-founder of Working Wonder, Nichola Johnson-Marshall, says she’s seen more of a transformation in work culture in the last year than she has in the last 20 years. She believes that the pandemic has affected our mental and physical state concerning work, but also given us the opportunity to reflect on what we want from our careers.
“Most of us are burned out right now, so people are re-thinking the way they feel in their current company,” she says.
Career coach Joanna Blazinska agrees that the nation’s remote employees have been hit a collective “work slump”. She defines a work slump as a “loss of energy, lacking drive and motivation whilst feeling irritable, stressed and constantly procrastinating at work.”
Our time and energy have shifted throughout the pandemic, says Blazinska, and we’ve been left deflated by “a lot of uncertainty, change, and adapting to a different work model”.
A lack of boundaries has contributed to us working overtime or outside of work hours, she adds. “Many of us have had the work-personal life boundaries completely blurred, which would have less impact if we were at an office,” she says. “Many of us felt like we needed to email at different times of day and night, which in turn could have caused work addiction and exhaustion.”
Our lack of physical human interaction may have also contributed to the work slump, says Johnson-Marshall. “As everything is done via video we’re missing out on face-to-face human interaction,” she says.
“We no longer have those coffee breaks when we’d be able to interact with our colleagues. It can be tiring being on back-to-back video calls all day, many of us are dealing with ‘zoom fatigue.’”
At the time of writing, we’re in a bit of a heatwave in the UK, which can also affect our motivation levels. “The heat can affect the way we work as we often feel sleepy, lose energy and take longer to complete a task due to temporarily decreased mental sharpness and lower blood pressure,” Blazinska adds. ”And very simply, when it’s hot we want to be somewhere else, doing something other than working.”
So, how can we get out of a work slump? Blazinska gives us some simple tips.
5 tips if you can’t be bothered at work
Diagnose the reason why the slump occurs
“Is it a temporary lack of motivation?” says Blazinska. “Is it related to energy management, or is there a need you feel might be neglecting? Is there an underlying cause you need to dig deeper into?”
Look for meaning
“Who can you help today? Who are you serving today with your work? Reignite the reason why you’re in the career or company you are right now.”
Solve a problem
“What problem can you solve? What skill of yours can you use to create a solution? Connecting with your strengths will remind you of your brilliance. A little bit of confidence, and self-content will help move through the slump.”
Look for novelty
“It could be something new you can learn, something interesting you can create, something different you can focus on, a new project. Stimulate your mind and your curiosity.”
Connect with people
“Feeling a part of a team that has your back and works collaboratively on an interesting project can get you back on track. Get to know if others are going through the same and learn what they need and how they are dealing with the work slump. Look to create some feel-good energy in your team. In the end, we’re in this together!”
Being demotivated to work isn’t the best feeling in the world, but it’s important to realise this feeling is temporary. If your current job really isn’t cutting it, it may be time to consider a career change. We all go through work highs and lows, so remember, you won’t be in your work slump forever.