Unfortunately, the time has come for re-containment, and with it, the return of 100% teleworking. During the first confinement, Diane, account manager in marketing, confided that she had “trouble getting started”: “My brain sent me the message ‘home’ and my behavior followed. I could find every reason in the world not to open my work files. My, I missed colleagues, as well. And then there are these questions that kept circling in my head about the future… ”
Does that remind you of something? In this new “normality” which is ours, namely remote work coupled with relative isolation, all in the context of a global health crisis, it is not always easy to stay motivated… At home, as with your colleagues, the motivating factors may be lacking. Both the extrinsic motivators, which justify your actions by a desire for reward (compliments, remuneration, social recognition, etc.) or by a fear of sanction, and the intrinsic motivators which are, in turn, driven by the search for your personal satisfaction (learn, feed your curiosity, solve a problem, achieve something).
Light on the causes of your loss of motivation at this particular time and advice on how to regain it.
Less outside nudges and sticks in the wheels
“You’re great, don’t change a thing”
In a study carried out at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, researcher Lourdes Canós-Darós emphasizes “The considerable importance of the reward system in the motivation process”. Among the external motivating factors in a professional setting, she cites gratitude, performance management, Training, the rise in rank, exchanges, or the establishment of a positive environment. So many complicated benefits to obtain or recreate when working from home.
Not easy to have team spirit alone
The presence of others is a real source of energy. Finding them in the morning usually puts us in the bath and rubbing shoulders with colleagues promotes the “contagion effect”: seeing them enjoy doing things we find off-putting ends up broadening our horizon.
Andrew, a salesperson, is familiar with the phenomenon: “When you are surrounded, group pressure is exerted: you have to work. We feel watched, which is a good thing for me. I have a lot of independent friends who go to work in a cafe to find that, precisely. At home, all you have to do is go to the kitchen to clean the hobs and that’s it, procrastination mode is on ”.
“I have trouble with my micromanagement”
Some team leaders are helpless when it comes to teleworking: comment remote manager, especially in this particular context? Even if managers had to learn lessons from the first confinement, the lack of experience can quickly lead to the demobilization of employees. ” Between March and April, I received an SMS from my boss every morning at 8 a.m. says Emily, an employee in IT. I had to give him my schedule for the day. Then she emailed me every 10 minutes with a new request. She kept interrupting me, preventing me from concentrating on what I had to do. * “
But if we need external stimulators, we are far from helpless on an individual basis, emphasizes subject specialist Dr. Kou Murayama, teacher and researcher at the University of Reading, England: “Of course, external incentives have a strong impact on our way of being and doing, however, humans have an incredible capacity to engage in action by themselves, by generating their own internal reward system. “. Our lack of motivation in this period of a pandemic is therefore not entirely attributable to the lack of help from outside. The situation strikes an even more sensitive chord.
Our brains don’t like uncertainty
The coronavirus is reshaping our daily lives – from our freedom of movement to the way we work. It’s not anything. Our productivity can thus be undermined by the more or less latent presence of stress or anxiety. We tell you why.
Loss of reference points on oneself
The need to find meaning in your life is a driving force for every human being, as great psychiatrists and philosophers such as V. Frankl or L. Tosltoï have emphasized. This “meaning” gives direction to the existence, brings values, a framework in which to move forward. It also fuels self-esteem.
The meaning we give to our life also testifies to our identity. Work – our function as much as our place in the hierarchy – is part of it. Amy, an exemplary student, major of her promotion and holder of a high position in a large association, finds herself stuck at home. Who is she now that she can no longer lift mountains? And you, who are you now that the office is at home? These questions can greatly undermine your motivation to undertake anything…
Tomorrow that sings?
Who could be surprised that we are worried, for ourselves, our loved ones, the future of the planet, or that of our job? As such, anxiety can take two forms: that of a response to a tangible event, such as the poor health of a loved one or money problems linked to a partial activity, or that of a pathological reaction. , chronic fear of what might happen: the impact of the coronavirus crisis on a global scale and, on a smaller scale, on our careers.
It is easier than focusing on your work when you bathe in it. Anxiety, directly related to fear, can paralyze the brain. When our body perceives danger, it chooses between flight or fight. In both cases, it secretes adrenaline and norepinephrine in high doses: it is as much less energy for the so-called “logical” area of our brain. What is the point of knowing how to merge two Excel spreadsheets when you are being chased by a tiger? Our body diverts its fuel to support our stress response. This type of reaction is calibrated to be short-lived: when it persists, anxiety consumes our internal battery and erodes our ability to act.
Between stagnation and uncertainties
If your job is threatened, your instinct may be to work extra hard to save it. But if the situation seems hopeless, you will most likely give up, right? Because then, why continue to work? But without getting there, the simple probability of losing one’s job is often enough to generate one’s weight of anxiety and therefore to paralyze.
Remember also that the prospect of promotion is for many a real source of motivation. Managers know it, but in this very tense economic context, no one is under any illusions …
False emergencies, real interruptions
Driven by our internal engines – interest, curiosity, personal growth – or by boredom, we are suddenly caught up in new activities: planting seeds on the balcony, tinkering, finishing a puzzle, preparing lunch … Being at home, above all in a period of confinement, it is also feeling the need to take care of your “nest”, even if it means delegating work to the background…
Some ideas to stay motivated:
Identify your sensitive points and work on them (without slapping you on the fingers) can help you regain desire and energy on a daily basis.
Be kind to yourself. If you are not used to telecommuting, let alone in the company of other people – with family or with children for example – you necessarily need time to adapt. Do you find it too difficult? Try not to get nervous. Start by understanding your functioning, your pace, and identifying your internal sources of motivation.
Consume news in moderation. Staying connected to the news of the coronavirus all the time can be worrying and demotivating. Give yourself a limited amount of exposure to information, such as “I read the news only at night, for half an hour”.
Establish a routine. As long as you are away from the office, implement recurring gestures to trigger your “work” reflexes. For example, give yourself a few minutes to clear your mind before making yourself a hot drink and turning on your computer – a sign that it’s time to start.
Take breaks. No need to kid yourself: there always comes a time when you pick up the phone. So, rather than pouring into totally useless Google searches, get up, and do something completely different. In short, just like in the office, tune in a real break… But also think of a way to get back in the saddle properly, even if it means reserving a little something to nibble on to (re) put yourself in condition.
Identify your own engines. See what boosts you from the inside out. The terms “motivation” and “emotion” have the same Latin root meaning movement, impetus, or passion. What resonates with you, echoes with your personality? Curiosity, problem-solving, opportunity to learn, sense of accomplishment, usefulness, interest, or passion: it all depends on the task, but why not try to associate it – consciously – with one of these simulators?
Set deadlines. There is nothing like it to stay the course. If you are working on long-term files, break the work into several stages with, for each, a deadline.
Communicate. Find someone – or a few people – to share moments of the day with. The one who knows the politics of the club, the friend with an attentive ear, a relative to whom you can talk about your little walk of the day or the coffee you spilled: each one can give you the different types of support you need.
Tap into what makes you unique and enjoy the freedom that teleworking offers. Some people like to prepare a minimum to work and get into “real conditions”, but if your happiness is to stay in your pajamas with your feet on the dog, go for it! No one is there to watch you, only the result counts.
Who knows, you might be getting even bigger now that nobody’s around to look over your shoulder? And if you feel your motivation slipping away, show kindness to yourself. Recognize this slump as normal, especially in the midst of a global crisis and at a time when human contacts are taking place through screens. But still, try to put your finger on what is holding you back. You may learn a lot about yourself in the process – both professionally and personally.
- Less outside nudges and sticks in the wheels
- Our brains don’t like uncertainty
- Some ideas to stay motivated: