How to feel more engaged at work

Do you find it difficult to detach yourself from work at the end of the day, especially if you have been working from home more this year? Are you able to really switch off or do you find your thoughts steering back towards your to-do list?

While it may feel counterintuitive to stop thinking about work when you know you will have a complex day ahead, it is important to detach yourself mentally from work during non-work time. When you can put your mind off work during your non-work time, research shows, your brain gets some time to reset and this can help preserve your engagement and performance at work the next day.

Another important factor that helps to increase work engagement throughout the day, as research by Sabine Sonnentag and Jana Kühnel has shown, is taking time to reattach to your work before starting your day. You can reattach by running the upcoming day through your head while you are having breakfast at home, during your commute or even during the first few minutes at work. Clarifying your goals for the day makes it easier to transition to your work tasks, as your task attention will already be increased before starting to work. You will find it easier to get absorbed back in your work, which can be tough, especially on Monday mornings.

Another great way to reattach is making a schedule for the day. When you are making your schedule, start with the tasks you are not looking forward to and plan more exciting tasks towards the end of the day, as Sonnentag and Kühnel also found that work engagement is naturally higher in the morning than in the afternoon.