How to Deal With Apathy at the Workplace

Sterile work environments often lead to boredom and apathy.

Sterile work environments often lead to boredom and apathy.

Employees who have lost interest in their jobs will find any reason not to do their work. They will spend their time on personal emails and phone calls or surf the Internet. When apathy hits the workplace, it's your job as a manager to find ways to motivate and inspire your employees. Because motivation comes from within, discover the reasons behind their apathy and do your best to eliminate them. Engage your employees and empower them to change.

Check equipment and supplies. Employees often lose interest in work when they have to use poor or broken equipment. Repair or replace broken equipment immediately. Review the work facilities and office supplies to verify that everyone has what they need to do their jobs.

Review the office's physical working conditions. Offices that are too cold or too hot are uncomfortable and distract people from their jobs.

Schedule regular breaks for employees. Working long hours without sufficient breaks leads to burnout and apathy.

Conduct a survey to gain input from your employees. Ask them to provide feedback on how to increase interest in the workplace. Asking employees for their opinions and ways to solve problems can help them get interested again.

Change the lighting in the work area. If the area doesn't have enough light, people get depressed and disinterested. This is especially true in the winter when natural lighting dims during storms and gloomy weather.

Improve the work environment by using colors to make it more cheerful. Add a bulletin board for special events flyers or coupons just for employees. Create a break room and add vending machines. If you don't have one already, install a microwave and add a refrigerator so employees have a place to store and prepare their lunches.

Begin an employee of the month program that recognizes and honors good work and skills. Employee appreciation programs go a long way to improving the work environment. When employees feel as if they are appreciated, they work harder.

Plan regular staff meetings. Use the meetings to encourage social interaction among your staff. While too much interaction is a distraction, too little leads to disengagement with the workplace. People need to feel as if they are part of something special.

Encourage employees to take the initiative and make decisions. When you empower your staff, you give them a sense of purpose in their work. People who are given more responsibility – as they earn it – tend to gain interest in their work product.

Hold a staff appreciation day once or twice a year. Schedule a day away from work where the entire team spends the day together. This has two results – it makes people feel appreciated and it encourages team and social interaction. You can take the staff to a museum and lunch, on a tour of another company or engage in a team activity that brings everyone together. Time away helps to rejuvenate creativity and attentiveness.

Install an employee suggestion box and take suggestions seriously. When you find a good suggestion that works for everyone, provide recognition to the employee who introduced the new idea.

Show that you care about your staff. As the manager or the owner of the company, your employees look to you to lead them. Find and focus on the positive in your staff. Positive reinforcement goes a long way to dispelling doom, gloom and apathy. Be an inspiration to your staff by maintaining a positive disposition at work.

 

About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.

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