comments 3

How to Fight Disengagement at Work

Many millennials are struggling with the dullness of work.

It really doesn’t matter if you’re working in an office, at a construction site, or in a retail store, work can get monotonous. Disengagement is a major problem in today’s workforce and the financial position of many new professionals can make the whole scenario feel like a bit of a trap. So how can you get to work and still have fun?

Work doesn’t have to be a three-ring circus, but most of us know that. We don’t need to have draught beer and foosball on every floor of the office, but at the same time, there are lots of compelling reasons why the stuffy, suit-and-tie workplace will end with our generation. To start, millennials simply work differently than other generations. (Being plugged-in all day will do that.) And working differently means that long-held norms like the eight-hour work day are fast becoming outdated. So the question becomes: how do you balance traditional work expectations with personal fulfillment, enjoyment, and happiness? Put differently, there has to be a way to keep your job and combat the boredom that has beset so many. Let’s explore some strategies.

Far too often we’re disengaged by our daily routines.

You Are Not Defined by Your Job

This one’s tricky because it’s a state of mind. There are a lot of people out there that will define you by what you do at work (it’s possible you even define yourself like this) but when you’re not engaged by your job, it’s often comforting to know that you are so much more than what you do when you’re at work.

Understanding you don’t need to define yourself by what you do is key because of this second strategy.

Long-term Happiness is All About You, Not Your Job

Take a couple minutes and watch this video from psychologist Shawn Achor at TEDx. Achor explains how we’re actually significantly more productive when we’re in a positive state of mind as opposed to negative, neutral, or stressed.

Anchor also has another extremely important point for anyone struggling with disengagement at work — that is, “90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change it, if we change our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that we can then affect reality. What we found is that only 25 percent of job successes are predicted by I.Q. 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

Anchor’s points are fascinating and also extremely relevant because they’re proven indirectly all the time by studies looking at happiness in work. Amanda Gore, in an article for Huffington Post Canada shows that companies with happy employees have 125% less burnout, 33% higher profitability, and 10 times less sick leave. So while, this tips might sound a bit like head games, Gore provides some real-world examples of how to make your work environment a happier place including giving others permission to have fun. She writes that often we’re paralyzed by fear of humiliation, which stops people from making work fun. We need to start having fun and leading by example.

Know How to Have Fun While Doing Your Job

For those that think they need a Google-style office to be happy, it might be nice, but it’s not everything. Having fun at work and fighting disengagement really is about knowing how to have fun doing your job. If you truly hate your job, then it’s time to start looking inward at what you really want.

Do you have strategies for having fun at work? How do you stay engaged with your job. Tell us in the comments below. 


Christopher is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. He has a fondness for strong coffee, good books and foreign news services. When he was five years old his father helped him raise a family of chipmunks over the winter, you should ask him about it. Professionally, he’s spent time as a technology journalist, PR consultant, and freelance blogger. Christopher’s work has appeared in a lot of trade magazines you’ve probably never heard of and maybe some you have. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Media Foundations from Humber College in Toronto.