It’s 2021 and a lot is happening in the world around us. We’ve all had to make adjustments to the way we work and live our daily lives. This past year and a half has caused us to step back and recognize that there are many external factors affecting work performance that are outside of our control.

It’s no secret that the world around us inevitably affects our everyday life. If we’ve learned anything from this time, it’s that leading with empathy and understanding is incredibly important in life–and work. 2020 was a historic year that also brought historic ups and downs in workplace statistics. The most recent Gallup poll from January 2021 found that 39% of employees in the U.S. are engaged in their work and 14% are actively disengaged.

On top of everything that’s going on in the world, it’s just a fact that not everyone loves their job. And that’s okay. As a manager, it’s good to acknowledge this and to embrace the challenge of making the workplace the best it can be for your team.

Keeping employees engaged is challenging now that work and life are more blended than ever. Here are five ways to keep your team from experiencing indifference at work:

  1. Create learning opportunities. Many times indifference stems from working on projects that are not challenging enough. Asking each member of your team what their ultimate professional goals are and making a plan to help each person get closer to achieving their goals is a great place to start. Creating opportunities for team members to shadow coworkers in different departments or collaborating on projects with another department are ways to create growth opportunities–and also help create a company culture that excites teams and brings everyone together. 
  2. Recognizing each person on your team for the great work they do. Recognition is important. Remember the Greek myth of Sisyphus?  The poor guy was condemned to roll a huge boulder up a hill, just to have it roll down again. Over and over, for all of eternity. Acknowledgment of great work is important to help your team avoid experiencing Sisyphus syndrome. Traditional recognition programs lose their luster after a while. To combat these outdated recognition programs, Surprise developed a way to excite employees and create recognition with impact, using the power of Surprise. #humblebrag
  3. Create situations to strengthen your team’s relationships with each other and the company. Your team wants to care about work and the people they work with, but this kind of connection doesn’t happen overnight. Creating opportunities for your team to get to know each other is a great way to strengthen team unity and combat indifference. It’s also important to educate your team on the missions of the company and to communicate where each member fits. Showing your team that each member is valuable to the company’s greater success empowers each person to create impact and to get excited about work! 
  4. Ask each team member what they want to be working on. While you might not be able to deliver on exactly what members of your team want to be working on, you can make efforts to put them on projects that might perk their interest. Just the fact that you cared enough to ask will have a big impact on your team and show them that their interests matter, because they do! 
  5. Budget in time for self-care. This may sound easy, but sometimes it’s the most difficult to practice. Life is hectic. Time for self-care will help your team’s performance in and out of the office and also improve their quality of life! If you really want to show your employees next-level consideration, budget self-care into their work day. Surprise has made this easy with daily Missions™ that will help create self-care habits to enrich your team’s everyday life. Check out the power of daily Missions™ to see how they can impact your team!

Allie Demopoulos is a Content Copywriter at A writer and producer, she believes that humor is the greatest tool and that the best of anything–comedy, music, stories–are experienced in basements. When she’s not creating, you can find her in the electric streets of Manhattan, a place she feels lucky to call home.