Switching on at work is as important as switching off

25 Apr 2019 By Maggie Baska

Researchers found that workers who mentally reconnect with work in the morning are more engaged

While switching off from work is important to boost employee productivity and wellbeing, the way that you reattach or switch back on can be just as important, according to a new study

Published in the Journal of Management, it suggests employees who mentally switch back on to work each morning are more engaged than those who do not. The research found that planning the upcoming working day triggered work-related goals, which in turn boosted employee productivity. 

Charlotte Fritz, co-author of the study and associate professor of industrial-organisational psychology at Portland State University, said many studies had shown that detachment from work during non-working hours positively impacted satisfaction, while reducing burnout. But she pointed out organisations needed to think about helping people mentally reconnect with work to create positive outcomes during their working day. 

“Through reattachment, employees are able to activate work-related goals, which then further creates positive experiences that allow people to be more engaged when they’re at work,” Fritz said. 

“Engagement is a sense of energy, of feeling absorbed and dedicated to work, and those are all very motivational experiences that translate into positive work outcomes for employees and their organisations.” 

The study – which surveyed 151 participants from a broad range of industries including finance, communications and healthcare – suggested that businesses could develop routines to help employees reattach and smoothly transition into the workday. 

That might mean allowing them silent contemplation time before starting work, encouraging goal planning or initiating short planning meetings each morning. 

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