The impact of low motivation at work

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    • 4th September 2018

    You’re no slacker, but perhaps you’ve been feeling pretty sluggish in the office lately?

    If you’re more likely to be watching the clock than cracking on with the latest project, you’re probably suffering from low motivation at work.

    Don’t worry, though. This happens to many people, especially within the creative industry.

    Read on for some tips on how to get your office mojo back.

    Most common reasons behind low motivation

    At Gloss Recruitment, we’ve worked with many talented candidates pursuing exciting creative jobs in Leeds. We ask candidates switching from their current role why they want to make the change. This helps us suggest the most suitable roles for them.

    During these conversations, we’ve noticed a pattern that’s linked to low motivation at work:

    • Lack of flexibility:

      This is usually defined as current employers not being able to accommodate for doctor’s or dentist’s appointments. Letting one of your staff leave half an hour early every once in a while goes a long way in establishing company loyalty.

    • Lack of clear targets:

      Not having enough to do and having too much to do are equally lethal to a person’s motivation. Especially if there’s no communication about what it’s all for. Having clear targets to work towards helps everyone in the workplace stay on track.

    • Lack of progression / meaning:

      A promotion within the first six months at a new company isn’t a realistic target, but everyone wants to know that their work is valued and contributing to something. More responsibility for talented staff can go a long way to keep careers on track.

    • Lack of trust:

      One of the biggest management sins is micromanagement. There’s constructive criticism and then there’s taking over. Micromanagers can swiftly demoralise their staff and drain them of their true talent. Trust your team’s skills and they’ll do you proud.

    Impact of low motivation in the workplace

    Low motivation in the workplace should be avoided as it can easily spread to other team members. It can also lead to unwanted habits within individuals that are hard to break, such as:

      • Lack of focus
      • Long absences – often due to stress or worry over feeling low
      • Feeling distant and unable to connect with others
      • Feeling undervalued and being overlooked for new projects
      • Lack of creativity by being stuck in a rut, which is especially frustrating when you’re trying to be creative
    person holding up unhappy face
    Unhappy employee

    Impact of low motivation outside of work

    Low motivation at work seeps into other aspects of your life too. It oftentimes creates a cycle of negative feelings that can haunt you 24/7.

    Outside of work, low motivation can lead to:

    • An inability to enjoy hobbies or other leisure activities
    • Feeling tired all the time despite sleeping more than usual
    • Suffering from insomnia
    • Increased or decreased appetite
    • Isolating yourself from friends and family

    We often assume that these things will just work themselves out in time. But once low motivation sets in it can soon takeover whole lives.

    How to turn that frown upside down

    All is not lost though. Low motivation is perfectly natural and it can be turned around. Here are some immediate things that can help get that mojo back, as well as some more long-term ideas that can help you towards the daily work experience you want.

    Short-term tips

    Take control of your motivation

    The first step to solving any problem is acknowledging that there is one.

    Delve into why you’re not motivated anymore. If you know the root cause of the low motivation, you can work out how to address it.

    Review what you’ve done so far

    Take a look back at what you’ve previously done to tackle feeling low. If, for instance, you’re feeling overlooked in the office, why not suggest a small project that could support the company?

    It could be something as simple as a presentation on important skills within your department that other departments could benefit from. Being proactive on how to improve interdepartmental communication shows you’re engaged with the company, and that you’re a problem-solver.

    Change your routine

    We all get tired of the same things every day, but we are also creatures of habit. Look over your current habits and think about what you could do to mix things up a bit. If you always work through lunch, then why not get out of the office for a bit and go for a walk? Exercise helps our mind balance thoughts and worries.

    lady doing yoga
    Change your zen with a change in routine

    Alternatively, if you always take a tea break with the same work colleagues, why not start up a conversation with a different one for a change?

    Changing your routine outside of work has an equal impact on your motivation

    If you’re feeling tired all the time, changing your bedtime routine can help.

    Banning mobile phones or tablets an hour before bed can make a big difference. Or try to fit in a swift run or power-walk before starting the day.

    Even just giving yourself an extra ten minutes in the morning to think about what lies ahead before rushing out the door can greatly improve your overall mood.

    Set your own challenge

    Keeping busy helps to stay motivated. If you’re doing monotonous tasks, why not liven things up a bit by setting yourself a mini challenge?

    For example, if it takes you fifteen minutes to complete one section, challenge yourself to do the next one within ten minutes whilst maintaining the same overall quality.

    Long-term tips

    Of course, the short-term tips can only take you so far. To make a change to your motivation that lasts, have a look at our long-term tips.

    Career planning

    No need for a five-year plan, but think about what you wish to achieve in the next couple of years. If you can visualise yourself in a certain role or at a particular creative agency, you can better plan how to make this vision a reality.

    Ask yourself what the ultimate dream role is and what steps you need to realistically get there. You can then put a step-by-step plan in place that you can stick to, and that will help you keep your eye on the prize.

    Practice the art of goal setting

    Having a plan for the future is good, but you want to make sure it stays on track. So many of us are great at setting the target but lack the skill of breaking it down into realistic and manageable chunks. Keep your motivation up and on track by setting yourself different goals at different stages of your overall career plan.

    football goal post
    Know your gaols from your goals
    • Short-term goal: This should be something achievable within a 3-month period. It should be something a little outside of your current role aka your comfort zone. It’s quite important as it’s the first step to making your career plan a reality, so don’t shy away from the challenge.
    • Medium-term goal: This needs to be a bit more advanced and could be around acquiring a new key skill. For graphic designers having tried and true digital skills can be an advantage when looking for a new role.

    Why not start your own blog about design and challenge yourself to gain a specific following within 6 months? Or sign up for a series of webinars that help you acquire a new skill.

    • Long-term year goal: The long-term goal is the fulfilment of your career plan. If you wanted to become a studio manager in a creative agency that specialises in FMCG branding, for example, then this goal is complete when you start your first day in the role. And the previous two goals were key stepping-stones in accomplishing this.

    Setting goals can help you focus on what you really want from your career.

    Don’t go it alone. Ask for advice.

    No one is an island. We all need some back up every now and then. If you’re looking for creative jobs in Leeds, why not ask for advice from a creative recruiter in Leeds?

    At Gloss Recruitment, we’ve got our ears tuned into the creative job industry that is unique to Leeds. We’ll be able to support you with both your short-term and long-term career plans to ensure you’re in the creative role that’s a great fit for you.

    We offer our candidates top tips on CVs, portfolios and interviews. Furthermore, we have a handy blog with a library of advice for creative jobseekers in Leeds and across Yorkshire.

    Motivation tips for employers

    Our team at Gloss doesn’t just support our talented candidates, but looks out for our esteemed clients too. Here are some ideas to help keep motivation high in the workplace.

    smiley red balloon on water
    Smiley face


    Reviews aren’t always enough. Your team is looking to you for guidance and to keep things on track. You can’t read their minds and they can’t read yours, so tell them how things are going, what the company’s goals are and how they can contribute as individuals.

    If your team feels like the valued employee that you want them to be, you’ll receive high-quality work and company loyalty.


    We live in a busy world, and a bit of understanding can go a long way. If your team knows they can talk to you about needing to leave early or come in late every once in a while to attend appointments that are impossible outside of working hours, you’ll have a less stressed workforce. Flexibility contributes heavily to your staff’s overall well being, so help your team to not sweat the small stuff.


    Trust is a two-way street. If you overload your team with work and unrealistic expectations, you’ll quickly lose their trust. Likewise, micromanaging everything they do won’t get you any further either. Discuss projects with your team on a regular basis and incorporate their opinions as much as possible. If you trust and value their input, your team will trust and value what you have to say.

    If you’re not feeling very motivated in your current job, why not send us your CV to get some advice on the latest creative jobs in Leeds?

    Or if you have a creative role to fill and you’re looking for a cream of the crop candidate, submit your vacancy via our webpages here.

    You can also give us a call for a chat on 0113 209 5705.