The truth is everyone has a reason for working: Pay bills, relieve boredom, fulfill a sense of purpose or achievement in life, contribute to society etc whatever it is, we spend much of our adult life at work therefore ensuring we get passion and enjoyment from our jobs is paramount. Studies have shown that passion breeds innovation and creativity.
Workplace apathy on the other hand breeds employee disengagement, low productivity, burn out, high turn over etc.
The following have been identified as some symptoms of workplace apathy
- Indifference to work
- Low/ Lack of motivation
- Cynical attitude
- Poor Communication
- Maintaining status quo
- Just “coasting” along
The question is what causes workplace apathy? Why do people who once had passion and zeal now exhibit passivity and lifelessness in the same workplace? Personally I believe workplace apathy does not just happen; it is a process triggered by one or more of the following issues
Micromanagement, lack of progress at work, job insecurity, unpleasant co-workers, poor communication, lack of confidence in leadership ,unfairly resolved conflict issues , abrasive bosses, poor origanisational culture or just simple laziness and lack of focus.
Usually, underpinning this workplace anomaly is a sense of hopelessness and lack of control. The first step to overcoming this problem is identifying that the problem exists and should be dealt with. Managers have a major role to play in combating this productivity eroding demon. They can set SMART goals for subordinates which will boost their strive for goal achievement. They can help make the work environment a bit more interesting (introducing different initiatives), encourage positive workplace interactions and relationships instead of practicing their Machiavellian skills.
Managers should also assist their subordinates in their development through effective delegation, coaching, counseling etc not dumping the boring jobs on them. Sharing workplace success also help boost subordinates .Not being stingy with praise also counts. All these add colour to people’s lives at work.
On the part of subordinates they need to take personal ownership of their jobs and invest time, effort and money in personal development which fosters hope and confidence. Overcoming workplace apathy requires a conscious and determined effort by whoever is affected. Any employee that desires to maximize his or her potential in the work place must avoid workplace apathy like a plague.
WRITTEN BY: BAMISHILE YEMISI (Head, Learning and Development CREM)