Employees who mentally reattach to work in the morning by visualising and planning their workday are more engaged at work, according to a Portland State University study.
The researchers suggest organisations develop appropriate norms and routines that help employees reattach to work and support them in smoothly transitioning into the workday.
Suggestions include allowing employees a few quiet minutes at the start of the day, initiating a short planning conversation about the upcoming workday, encouraging workers to prioritise important goals, offering short checklists, and providing staff with more autonomy.
PSU associate professor and co-author of the study, Charlotte Fritz, said planning and mentally simulating the upcoming workday could help trigger work-related goals.
“We know that detachment from work during non-work hours is important because it creates positive outcomes like higher life satisfaction and lower burnout.”
“Now we need to think about helping people mentally reconnect to work at the beginning of their work shift or day so they can create positive outcomes during their work day and be immersed in their work. It’s not enough to just show up.”
Fritz said an employee’s reattachment to work can vary from day to day and will depend on the person and their job. For example, some employees may think about specific tasks that need to be done over breakfast or in the shower, some may mentally go over a conversation with a supervisor during their commute, and others may run through their to-do list while standing in line for a coffee.
“Through reattachment, employees are able to activate work-related goals, which then further creates positive experiences which allow people to be more engaged at work.”
“Engagement is a sense of energy, sense of feeling absorbed, feeling dedicated to work, and those are all very important motivational experiences that translate to positive outcomes for both employees and organisations. They’re more satisfied with work, more committed to work, enjoy work tasks more, perform better and help out more with extra tasks.”