Work Energy: what is it, how do you manage it, and what's in it for you?
April 21, 2022
Have you ever noticed that some days you feel super motivated and productive at work, and other days everything just feels like a real chore?
Sometimes it’s really easy to get in the zone or tap into your “flow state”. Time flies by, and you feel completely absorbed by what you are doing, to the point that nothing else seems to exist.
Other times (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), those same tasks can feel like a slow, torturous uphill battle. Why is that though?
Well, that there — those peaks and dips — is your Work Energy.
Hang on, what’s Work Energy?
Work energy is how you feel at work, and about your work. It’s more than just a single factor like motivation or productivity, though of course, those elements make up a huge part of it.
It’s all the varying moods, attitudes, and actions that ensue as a result of how you feel at work.
Work Energy levels naturally wax and wane over time, depending on both professional and personal circumstances. When our levels are high, we have a greater sense of purpose, job satisfaction, and produce our best work.
But when those levels are low, every day can seem like a struggle. As the popular self-care saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Workplace Burnout Survey, 91 percent of respondents stated that having unmanageable stress levels or frustration was negatively impacting their quality of work.
In short, managing your Work Energy is extremely important for your wellbeing at work and outside of work, as well as your professional performance. Research conducted by Gallup shows that more engaged employees in general tend to boost their productivity by up to 20 percent.
Given the importance of taking back control of your Work Energy, we decided to put together this framework to help you analyse, understand, and improve your own. Read on to learn more about the benefits of improving Work Energy levels and all the key dimensions this framework encompasses.
Taking charge of your Work Energy: what’s in it for you
You’ve probably come across the benefits that corporate wellbeing programs promise employers, like higher performing teams as well as increased productivity, engagement, retainment, and being able to save a considerable chunk of money on healthcare, to name a few.
But what are the benefits that you yourself get when you take charge of your Work Energy?
In a nutshell, higher Work Energy levels help you:
Cut through brain fog and concentrate better
Refresh your creativity and problem-solving skills
Work better with others (and ideally, enjoy it more)
Achieve personal and professional goals
Reconnect or discover your sense of purpose
And last but not least, higher Work Energy levels make you feel better about yourself and happier about what you do. They’re a natural self-esteem booster, born from environments which empower us to be creative, put our problem-solving skills to use, recognise our efforts and empower us to do our best work.
Meet the six key Work Energy dimensions
This framework for Work Energy is based on the principles of behavioural science and was developed by our team of psychologists and psychometricians who have been researching the topic since 2018.
According to the framework, Work Energy is made up of six key dimensions which shape how you feel at work as a whole.
Without further ado, here are the six dimensions of Work Energy:
1. Team Climate
What it is: the dimension “Team Climate” describes how you feel within your team. It includes how you perceive interactions with the team and how easy it is to work with your team members.
What affects it: how you and your team interact with one another, your interpersonal relationships at work, team communication, how the team and leadership give each other feedback and resolve issues, team bonding events, and the actions your manager takes to improve the overall team and working environment
2. Work Capabilities
What it is: the dimension “Work Capability” shows how you perceive your own skills and expertise in connection to your work. It also includes how much freedom you feel you have when it comes to carrying out your job.
What affects it: understanding your strengths and weaknesses and making the most of them, working on your professional development, getting recognition and feedback, analysing what you need in terms of tools and resources in order to do your best work and improve your performance, learning to communicate those needs to your manager, and how well your manager supports those needs
3. Work Attitude
What it is: the dimension “Work Attitude” describes how you feel towards your work and the team you work with. How do you perceive them and what actions do you undertake in certain situations?
What affects it: things that boost your energy and things that drain them (these can be specific types of tasks, social interactions, and life situations for example), the impact of working remotely, how you respond to stress, what your manager’s mentality is like
4. Work Motivation
What it is: the dimension “Work Motivation” represents your perceived relationship towards your job on an emotional level.
What affects it: moments of reward and satisfaction, how you set and go about achieving your goals, finding a balance between your professional and personal life, identifying what drives you and finding ways to harness those motivators in your daily work, how supportive your manager is of you identifying and using those drivers
5. Work Productivity
What it is: the dimension “Work Productivity” shows how you feel about your work process and the progress you’re currently making
What affects it: procrastination levels, your biorhythm, time management, organisation (both in your personal life as well as your professional life), and your ability to set priorities and consistently follow through on them
6. Work Meaning
What it is: the dimension “Work Meaning” depends on whether you see any purpose and direction at your work. It gives you an understanding of how important you consider your work to be in the grand scheme of things, and if it makes a difference to you personally.
What affects it: how well your personal values align with your work and workplace, the role your work has in wider society, the principles that drive you and how your work plays a role in your expression of them, how well your leadership team can communicates the overall vision to your team and connect with you on an emotional level
Why is Work Energy management important?
Most people end up spending approximately one third of their lives at work. On average, that comes out to a whopping 90,000 hours of work over a lifetime. If we spend one third or more of our lives at work, and work consistently feels like an emotional and mental struggle, then chances are it will have an enormous impact on the rest of our lives.
Just to give you an idea of how low Work Energy can affect other areas of your life (and because it’s important to know that you are not alone) 83 percent of Deloitte survey respondents say burnout from work actually goes on to negatively impact their personal relationships.
And between stressful work environments, global events that take their toll, and any personal issues we may be dealing with, it’s no wonder that we’re facing a worldwide Work Energy crisis.
Indeed’s 2021 Preventing Employee Burnout Report report that employee burnout has gotten even worse over the last year, with more than half (52%) of respondents feeling burned out, and more than two-thirds (67%) who feel that their burnout has gotten even worse over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why it’s more important than ever before to take a step back, analyse, and understand your Work Energy. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the business of everyday life, going through the motions, without ever taking a breather to evaluate how you got where you are.
Intentionally taking stock of how you really feel is the only way to understand what’s going on and what actions you need to take to become your best self at work again. Easier said than done though, right?
That’s where Vyou comes in
Vyou is a work wellness platform which helps you measure, track, and improve your wellbeing at work.
Using Vyou, you can actually visualise and track the flow of your Work Energy in easy-to-understand graphs, and start to identify patterns and trends in what boosts your energy and what drains it.
Next, our platform generates unique insights and personalised recommendations for you to turbocharge your wellbeing at work.
We do all of this using a combination AI and human coaching, as well as handy content that helps you work towards achieving your personal and professional wellbeing goals.