Eliminating Apathy in the Workplace

Whether you’re in upper-level management, a long-time and experienced employee, or brand new to your organization, you’ve most likely personally experienced apathy in the workplace. Merriam-Webster defines apathy as the lack of interest or concern: indifference.” Regardless of the field, people across the nation struggle to overcome this feeling – or more accurately, this absence of feeling. It leaves many feeling unmotivated, stuck, and disconnected from the rest of their organization.

If this is striking any chords, you may be asking yourself if it’s time for a career or company change. The reality is that every workplace experiences bouts of apathy from time to time. The good news is that, regardless of your title, you have a say in organizational culture. To successfully see a transformed environment, change often begins with you. 

Identify the source. 

Apathy may be the result of a number of causes, physical or psychological. The challenge is finding where the lack of interest began. If the overall environment displays a uniform apathetic culture, vision may not be communicated within the organization. If you’re personally experiencing apathy, begin by asking yourself questions about the environment and your personal work habits. Why did you first accept the position? What about your work is not meeting your expectations? Which of your specific work habits are contributing to positive or negative thinking about your role?

What is your “why”?

This is one of the most fundamental questions to ask yourself. Find something about the work you do that you can be passionate about! Perhaps the overall mission of your organization brings you a sense of purpose. Or maybe everyday you look forward to seeing the people you work alongside. Has there ever been a time that a customer or client shared how a project you contributed to made a positive impact? Whatever the case, identify that one thing that never ceases to make you smile. 

Find purpose in the mundane.

Once you’ve answered your “why”, connect it to the mundane tasks you find yourself in. Especially after working in a position for a substantial period of time, it can be difficult to find personal incentive to carry out the everyday, repetitive tasks. To increase motivation, change the way you think about these responsibilities by connecting them to the overall business success. Ask yourself how each project you are assigned contributes to the well-being of the organization and staff. What would the company look like if someone wasn’t completing these tasks?

Bring others in.

Now that you’ve successfully answered these questions for yourself, it’s time to pull others in with the vision. Find ways to share your new perspective with coworkers and supervisors. You don’t need a title or position to be a leader in your organization. Begin asking engaging questions. Set goals for yourself and for your team. Inspire passion and communicate the vision.