5 Ways to Feel Engaged at Work

Being more engaged and motivated at work can improve your well-being and performance to get more pleasure out of your job.
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  • Becoming and staying actively engaged at work is important for overall well-being and job productivity.
  • Intrinsic motivation requires empowerment that comes from a commitment to remain optimistic and goal-oriented.
  • A strong support system can boost engagement at work, leading to greater interest and involvement.
  • You can improve your motivation at work through contribution and cooperative relationships.

Employee engagement is measured by the involvement and enthusiasm of employees at work and in the workplace. Does their work have meaning? Is it rewarding? According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, just 21% of employees are engaged at work.

Jennifer Carsen attributes this percentage, in part, to COVID. Carsen is the author of "HR How-to: Employee Retention" and was named a "Top 25 Online Influencer in Employment Law" by HR Examiner.

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She explains, "Employers and employees alike struggle with keeping employees engaged these days, especially in the wake of 2+ years of COVID stresses and exhaustion. COVID has led to widespread global burnout in all aspects of life."

Engagement is more than just basic job satisfaction. It encompasses motivation, determination, and commitment. These factors can contribute to better performance, benefiting the individual's well-being and job-related efforts as well as the organization as a whole.

Why Does Engagement at Work Matter?

According to Pat Roque, chief engagement officer at Rock on Success, employee engagement coincides with better overall health and well-being. Being healthy gives us energy for daily accomplishments — work included. "Employees who are healthy and fit perform better than those who are not."

Greater job satisfaction enhances productivity and can stave off burnout. As per the American Psychological Association's 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, more than 9 in 10 workers say that support from senior leaders helps them feel motivated to perform their best.

Roque shares, "Companies seeking greater employee engagement should focus on the mental health of their teams."

Feel Engaged at Work: 5 Tips to Make It Happen

Know You're In Control

"The single most important thing is to understand that you, as an employee, own your own engagement levels and performance. Employers can make this easier or harder, but ultimately it's an inside job," says Carsen.

Change it up and be proactive. Take on new responsibilities and try fresh approaches to your work. Roque urges, "Don't wait for others to give you permission to grow. It's your responsibility to advocate for yourself and stay aligned with your priorities and career path."

Amber Roberts, Personnel Clerk at Nassau BOCES suggests, "Sprint for the finish line. I always try to get as much accomplished in the last hour of the day. It makes the last hour go faster and I enjoy coming in to being caught up, or ahead of the work the next morning. It's like the final sprint at the end of the day, [if] you really push those last few laps, you can go home happy."

Optimism Is Where It's At

"No job is going to be 100% fun 100% of the time, but it's important to try to focus on the aspects of it you really enjoy and are good at. If all else fails, take a step back and think about the things you really like about your job, even if they are things like having financial security, being able to pay your bills, and building your skills and resume for the next step in your career path," Carsen advises.

Sociologist and author of "The Secrets to Happiness at Work," Dr. Tracy Brower, Ph.D., adds, "People who are more optimistic tend to be people others want to work with — so staying positive can also help your relationships and your credibility."

Count On Your Colleagues

Becoming and staying connected can help with accountability as well as a friendlier, more motivated workplace atmosphere. "Find people with whom you can build relationships," Dr. Brower urges. "It's true that misery likes company, so it's great to have camaraderie — but even more — others can help support you and provide help when you need a listening ear or a caring colleague."

Roberts adds, "Getting to know your coworkers can really help your mental well-being. It's also wonderful to have a support system when the workload gets too heavy, and nice when other members of the team know how to help."

Think Ahead

"Set your vision, imagine what you'll do next, and reach out to gain support from mentors. Be patient about what will be next and know the time you're spending is an investment in your experience," Dr. Brower encourages.

Dr. Brower maintains that future-focused, long-term thinking is a key component to staying engaged at work. "Even though it may feel like things never change, they actually do move forward — and your career will too." What you are doing right now can help build the skills you'll need in the years to come.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Your level of engagement isn't just about you. A thoughtful employer wants their employees to thrive, but you may have to make the first move. If you're feeling unmotivated at work, be forthcoming about it. While the conversation may seem daunting, it shows that you're committed to your job and know your potential.

Rather than quitting or settling for the status quo, want more for yourself, your boss, and your colleagues. Brainstorm ideas for a more stimulating workplace where you can learn, grow, and reach your full potential. "Talking with your team or manager about projects where you can stretch and contribute 10% of your time outside of your regular duties," says Roque.

Frequently Asked Questions About Engagement at Work

What makes you feel more engaged with your team at work?

Carsen suggests, "Do your best to get to know (your colleagues) as people rather than simply as coworkers. The more you truly know and understand someone else, the more you tend to like them and want to help them out — which, in turn, leads to better work relationships and greater engagement."

Working remotely can create a roadblock towards meaningful connections and can lead to loneliness. To strengthen your relationships with your work team when you're not physically together, thesesix tips can spark re-engagement and resourcefulness. Shared goals and collaboration make the results of hard work collectively rewarding.

How do you stay engaged in a boring job?

"Focus on what you can do well today. Focus on the experience you're building for the future. Focus on the long term. Focus on how you contribute to the community and to others," says Dr. Brower.

Don't let one bad day derail you. Stay motivated by learning from colleagues and mentors as you work together towards a common goal. Know that your contributions are fundamental to the team's achievements.

How does engagement improve performance?

Dedication and a desire to do better can stem from a commitment to your coworkers, customers, and clients. An enjoyable environment may foster greater workplace satisfaction, loyalty to the organization, and output.

According to Dr. Brower, "When you're engaged and happy, you perform better, set bigger goals (and reach them) and cultivate better relationships. You even tend to be more physically healthy. All of these are important because you'll be more energized and motivated to bring your best to what you're doing today."

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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