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Employees feel less motivated to work during pandemic: study

Last Updated Oct 14, 2020 at 9:57 pm PDT


Nearly four in 10 employees report feeling less motivated at work, according to research

Factors like distraction, change and uncertainty are getting most of the blame

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — New research shows almost four in 10 employees are feeling less motivated to work as Canada hits the six-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings were released as a part of Morneau Shepell’s Mental Health Index. Factors like distraction, change and uncertainty are getting most of the blame.

Paula Allen, senior vice president of research analytics innovation for Morneau Shepell, says people are feeling it takes more effort to get the same amount of work done.

“April of this year, people were thinking that we were going to be pretty much out of the woods and back to, you know, just, you know, some semblance of normal by June optimism isn’t really very high right now, what we’re experiencing right now is uncertainty,” Allen says.

Allen describes the numbers as a red flag but also says it’s not too late and there have been a number of ups and downs in the data already.

RELATED: Loneliness taking a toll on Canadians’ mental health several months into COVID-19 pandemic

“In April, we thought we were going to be out of the woods by June. Optimism isn’t very high now. What we’re experiencing is uncertainty,” Allen says.

CityNews opened up discussion online, asking what factors were making it harder to stay motivated while working.

Some people say they were more motivated, citing less distractions or tools provided by their employer.

However, others say they had trouble focusing due to job insecurity, difficulty collaborating over distance, reduced wages, and looming layoffs.

Allen also says the biggest driver of the decline in mental health was financial uncertainty, followed by isolation.

“Emergency savings — just having that little nest egg — seems to be the best moderator of that, and this was irrespective of income,” Allen adds.

Andrea Jacques, with Kyosei Consulting, recommends assessing how comfortable and healthy you feel in your home/work environment.

“You need to re-establish your routine,” Jacques says.

Jacques is a workplace productivity consultant in Vancouver. She says while there are things you can buy to help with productivity, she warns the problem goes deeper.

“You can give somebody two monitors, and that’s going to increase their productivity and their motivation and their happiness in the short term, but over the long term the benefits that they get kind of go down, if they don’t really enjoy their work, if they don’t feel connected with their colleagues, if their work doesn’t align with their values, if it doesn’t have a sense of purpose.”

She says being less motivated makes people more susceptible to distraction by things like TV, social media, and even other work emails.

“If you’re constantly being distracted you get to the end of the day and you just go, ‘what did I accomplish?’ and because that accomplishment is actually in need. You feel depressed.”