The Dangers of Disengaged Employees

Published on 15/07/2019

Disengaged workers

What does it mean to be engaged at work?

It means that you’re invested in your job, e.g. you care about what you’re doing, you’re excited by the overall picture of your work and where it may lead, and you basically have a good amount of job satisfaction. 

Whilst you might not be skipping to work every day, desperate to get to your glass office desk, you’re not lamenting the fact you have to go there either.

On the other side of the coin, what does it mean to be disengaged?

This is the opposite side of the story, and basically means that an employee doesn’t care about their job, they’re not motivated to go the extra mile, and they simply go to work, do what they have to do in order to get paid, and then go home.

That might sound selfish or even rude of that employee, but you have to understand the reasons why disengagement happens. 

Check out this video for a visual overview of what disengagement is, and some of the dangerous patterns of behaviour that disengaged employees may exhibit.

As you can see, disengaged employees may be feeling and acting that way because of something to do with work, or it could be something else entirely, e.g. they’re going through something quite heavy in their personal life and it’s causing them to pull back from everything else around them. 

Whilst you cannot avoid situations which are out of your control, e.g. situations which happen away from work, as an employer, you can help to ensure that employees remain stimulated and motivated by their work. By doing this, you’re avoiding the risk of them becoming bored, feeling they’re living their work days in monotony, and help to reduce stressful situations in the workplace, such as a difficult office seating plan, or not enough challenging responsibilities. 

The Key to Avoiding Disengagement is Keeping Morale High 

Morale is at the centre of everything in the office environment. If your employees are happy and satisfied in their job roles, they are going to work harder and be more productive as a result. Morale and productivity are directly linked, and if you can ensure that everyone sat in their office chairs are feeling the effects of that high morale level, you’ll be able to do a lot to avoid disengagement.

So, how can you avoid disengagement by focusing on morale?

  • Ask your employees for their opinions on issues and possible changes, rather than simply jumping in and making decisions without their input
  • Create an innovative and inspiring work environment, perhaps with wave office desks and a bright decor, bringing in hints of nature within a biophilic office design
  • Focus on health and wellbeing for your employees, including looking into stand height tables to avoid sedentary lifestyle risks
  • Treat everyone fairly and equally
  • Give opportunities for extra responsibility and challenges, but don’t overload staff with more work than they can handle
  • Have an open door policy, to ensure employees can approach management whenever they feel they want to talk about something, or when they may be feeling the effects of stress
  • Offer confidential counseling services which staff can access if they’re struggling with personal issues
  • Create a ‘family-like’ feel to the office environment, ensuring everyone works together as a team and reducing the chances of isolation and monotony

You can easily assess the morale level within your workplace by looking at productivity levels, how many mistakes are being made, and how many smiles you see around the office!

Avoiding employee disengagement will cut down on the chances of a drop in productivity, the risk of mistakes, office conflicts, unhappy clients and customers, increased employee turnover and repeated recruitment drive, and ultimately, a drop in profits as a result. 

Focusing on your employees and ensuring job satisfaction will help create a happy and healthy working environment, ensuring employee engagement, rather than disengagement.

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